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Q: What are cataracts, and how are they treated?

A: Cataracts are cloudy areas that form on the eye's lens, which is normally clear. They're caused by proteins breaking down and clumping together. Common signs and symptoms of cataracts include hazy or blurry vision, colors appearing dim and reduced night vision. You may find that you need more light to see well at night.

The only way to know for sure if you are developing cataracts is to have a comprehensive eye exam.

Cataracts are treated by a surgical procedure that removes the cloudy natural lens and replaces it with a clear artificial lens. These artificial lenses are known as intraocular lenses, and there are more of these IOL replacement options than ever.

Some IOLs provide full range of vision during any activity, including driving at night, watching TV, golfing and reading. Other IOL types provide extended depth of focus for patients who have other conditions, such as dry eyes or macular degeneration.

PanOptix lenses are a favored IOL by some because they most closely replicate the focal ability of a natural lens. These innovative trifocal lenses allow you to see clearly up close, intermediately and far away. Most recipients are able to give up wearing glasses entirely.

Dennis Matzkin M.D., is an ophthalmologist and eye surgeon with Allied Eye and a member of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society.

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Contributed Photo / Dr. Dennis Matzkin
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