A surprising number of adults aren't aware that cataracts affect approximately 20.5 million Americans age 40 and older. In reality, more than half of the population above age sixty-five have some amount of cataract development.
What are cataracts?
Cataracts occur when the ocular lens, the part of the eye that focuses light to produce images, becomes clouded. This inhibits the transmission of light necessary for vision.
How do I know I have cataracts?
Cataracts are sometimes brushed off as typical age-related vision decline, yet there are some symptoms to look for that set them apart. Depending on the type of cataract, you may experience blurry vision, increased glare from sun light or artificial light or a decrease in color vibrancy. Some cataracts show no signs until they are more advanced while others may even show signs of a temporary improvement in near vision called ''second sight''.
Cataract comes from cataracta which means ''waterfall'' in Latin. This may be because the appearance of opaque clouds in the lens resembles the cloudy rush of water which also appears white. Senile cataracts, which occur in the elderly typically show an initial opacity in the lens, followed by swelling and shrinkage of the lens resulting in eventual blindness.
Cataract Prevention and Treatment
Researchers have not yet found surefire ways to prevent cataracts but some say that protecting your eyes from UV rays by wearing sunglasses can reduce cataract development. Some research shows that taking antioxidants and limited consumption of salt may also play a role in prevention.
During the early stages, eyeglasses can be used to treat loss of sight, however, eventually vision may deteriorate to a level to require surgical treatment. Cataract surgery is in fact the most common surgery in the US and is usually a success. In most cases, the doctor removes the clouded lens and replaces it with what is called an intraocular lens (IOL) made of plastic. In 90% of patients, they are able to restore vision to between 20/20 and 20/40.
Don't let vision diseases go undiagnosed. A yearly eye exam is advised for every adult, particularly those over 40. Contact Fox Eye Care Group NC optometry practice today to book an appointment.