In the United States, this month is Cataract Awareness Month. Did you know that cataracts are the main culprit of vision loss among adults aged 55 and older? In fact, more than half of all North Americans who are 65 and older have some degree of cataract development. As reported by the National Eye Institute, by the time they reach 80 years old, more than half of all Americans will have had a cataract.
So what exactly is a cataract? A cataract is like a veil in front of the lens; one that blocks or changes the passage of light into the eye. In the interior part of the eye, the lens exists within a sealed bag or capsule. As soon as aging cells die, they start to become caught within the capsule. As time goes on, more cells follow suit and gather, causing the lens to get cloudy, leading to eyesight that is blurry. For most people, cataracts are a normal side effect of aging. Additional dangers for developing a cataract include intense heat or extended exposure to UV rays from the sun, being overweight, diabetes, family medical history, inflamed eyes, ongoing steroid use, smoking and eye injuries.
During the early phases of cataract development, stronger lights and glasses may be prescribed to lessen the vision problems you might be having. At some point, however, cataract surgery might be the solution to improve your eyesight. It's worth nothing that more than 9 out of 10 people who've had cataract surgery recover perfect or near perfect vision.
If you are at risk for developing cataracts and noticing low vision symptoms, call our office to discuss cataracts with your optometrist. The prognosis for cataracts is excellent, and we know you want to be able to see well throughout your later years.