Early age cataracts can be corrected with surgery

KING 5's Amity Addrisi reports.

Jonathan Suarez was getting ready to get his driver’s license, but his eyes had other plans.

“I thought my vision was going bad. I was actually at the DMV and they told me that I needed to get new glasses. And I went to an eyeglass place, and they told me I needed cataract surgery," said Jonathan.

It’s rare for someone so young to have cataracts, but Suarez also has Type 2 diabetes, which is the leading cause of the eye condition in someone his age.

When you have the cataract, that’s the clouding of the eyes' natural lens. There is a way to get rid of that cloudiness: put a new lens in so that you can see better.

So after some eye drops and anesthesia, Suarez was ready for surgery to replace his cloudy lens with an artificial lens in a procedure that takes less than 15 minutes.

"I thought they were going to have to hold my eye open and take my eyeball out, like cut it. But it was simple. It was easy," said Jonathan.

Suarez needs surgery on both of his eyes, but he's now got a clear view of what lies ahead: a simple and effective fix.  And he's one step closer to passing the vision test and getting that driver's license.

Though it's not typical for young people to have cataracts, it can happen. For people like Suarez who has diabetes, or someone who has had a traumatic eye injury, eye disease, or a family history of early cataracts, surgery can fix the problem.

The National Institute of Health says cataract removal is one of the most common operations performed in the United States. It also is one of the safest and most effective types of surgery.

© 2017 KING-TV


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