Prevent Blindness America declared June as Cataract Awareness Month to educate people about cataract symptoms, treatment, and prevention. During this month, people are encouraged to share their and their family’s cataract experiences with each other to spread awareness.
According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 30 million Americans have cataracts making it one of the leading causes of blindness. With the increasing number of cataract patients, it has become very crucial that we bring awareness about this disease and how to fight it.
What Exactly Are Cataracts?
Cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens causing blurry vision making it difficult to see. Usually, our lenses are transparent and give us a clear vision. But with cataracts, as lenses become cloudy, the cloud blocks the passage of light into the eye which makes it hard to see stuff clearly.
What Causes Cataracts?
Cataract is considered an eye condition for the elderly as it is very common in older people. 1 out of every 6 Americans over age 40 has cataracts. With age, the water and proteins inside our lens can clump together and this results in cloudy eyes. Apart from age, there are other factors that may affect the development of cataracts or how quickly the condition advances. These factors include:
- High blood pressure
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Long-term use of steroid or statin medications
- Excessive UV radiation
- Eye injury
- Eye inflammation
- Family history of cataracts
So, getting rid of bad habits like smoking, drinking, keeping your weight and diabetes in control can help you prevent cataracts to a great extent.
How cataracts affect your vision
Contact usually affects both eyes but can progress at a different rate in each eye. Usually, cataract symptoms take months or years to show up so you may not even realize it in the beginning. Some of the cataract symptoms are:
- Blurry vision
- Double vision
- Colors that used to be bright earlier now seem dim
- Glare from natural sunlight or from artificial light, like light bulbs and lamps
- Night vision problems
- Halos around lights
- Sensitivity to light
With an advanced cataract, the pupil may appear light grey from the outside instead of black.
If you have noticed any of the cataract symptoms, don’t worry because cataract is treatable. In the case of a mild cataract, a combination of an eyeglass prescription and better lighting can improve your vision. However, in advance cases, you are always recommended to go for a cataract-removal surgery.
Is Cataract Surgery Risky?
Cataract surgery is one of the most common and safe surgeries nowadays. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, About 2 million people undergo the procedure each year.
During this surgery, your doctor will remove the cataract from the eye and replace it with an artificial intraocular lens also known as IOL. The procedure does not take much time, cataract surgery is usually performed in your optometrist’s office. So, you are not required to stay in the hospital but you must follow all the instructions and medication doctors prescribe you for a few days. Usually, people can get back to normal life doing their day-to-day activity with better vision after a few days of the surgery.
If you want to know more about cataracts, or you suspect you have a cataract and are looking to get your eye tested, we are here to help you. You can book an appointment or contact us for any additional queries