Hollingshead Eye Center Observes Cataract Awareness Month

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Dr. Mark Hollingshead of Hollingshead Eye Center expects to be handling more questions about what a cataract is - and explaining what it is not during Cataract Awareness Month.

Dr. Mark Hollingshead

A cataract interferes with the way light passes through the lens, in much the same way that fingerprints or smears on a window interfere with your view of what is on the other side of the glass.

During August (Cataract Awareness Month), eye surgeon Mark Hollingshead of Hollingshead Eye Center expects to be handling more questions about what a cataract is—and explaining what it is not.

“A cataract is not a cloudy film on or near the surface of the eye, and it’s not uncommon, either,” says Dr. Hollingshead. “It is actually a clouding of the lens, located inside of the eye. A cataract interferes with the way light passes through the lens, in much the same way that fingerprints or smears on a window interfere with your view of what is on the other side of the glass.” He adds, “Some people have described their vision with cataracts as looking at the world through waxed paper.”

Cataracts do NOT cause pain, discomfort, redness, discharge, or sudden, alarming vision changes that would lead someone to seek immediate medical care.

The changes caused by cataracts generally develop so slowly that you don’t notice them until they are serious enough to affect your normal lifestyle. “Sometimes, a patient will tell me that they can no longer follow the progress of their golf ball—that it just blends into the sky—or that they are having trouble keeping an eye on their tennis ball,” says Hollingshead. “Others complain that glare has become a problem, particularly when driving at night.”

Staying active is an important part of maintaining a healthy body and mental attitude that a person will need to remain independent. When a cataract or other vision problem makes a favorite activity more frustrating than enjoyable, you are more likely to quit doing it. With every activity and every hobby reluctantly left behind, the world becomes a smaller place, and that doesn’t have to happen, though.

Surgery to correct a cataract is safe, comfortable, effective and affordable. “Cataract surgery couldn’t be more convenient than it is at our outpatient surgery center,” says Dr. Hollingshead, who has been performing cataract surgery in Boise since 1994. “I replace the clouded natural lens with a crystal-clear lens implant that takes over the job of focusing light as it enters the eye. Patients are often amazed that the entire process is finished in only a few minutes, and a short time later, they are on their way home.”

Dr. Hollingshead has included a “Cataract Quiz” on his new website, http://www.HollingsheadEyeCenter.com. “Taking the quiz is a great way to learn more about the symptoms of cataracts,” he says. Visitors to this website will also find a wealth of information about cataracts and the surgery to correct them, and “lifestyle” replacements lens implants that may reduce dependence on reading glasses and bifocals after surgery, as well as a photo tour of Hollingshead Eye Center’s state-of-the-art outpatient surgery center.

If the diagnosis is cataracts, the next step is choosing a surgeon to correct the problem. A cataract surgeon who has had more opportunity to perfect his or her technique is likely to be more skilled than a surgeon who has had less ‘practice,’ so ask how many cataracts the surgeon has removed. The more the better, but the number should be in the thousands.

Dr. Mark Hollingshead has restored clear vision to more than 11,000 eyes. He encourages anyone who suspects that they have a cataract to schedule a consultation by calling (208) 336-8700.

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Tressa Martin
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