Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 40 and are the principal cause of blindness throughout the world.
Considering the prevalence of this medical condition, we want to make sure you know the facts about cataracts, their signs and symptoms, and treatment options.
What Is A Cataract?
The lenses in our eyes are made up of mostly water and protein, with the proteins arranged in a specific way so as to keep the lens clear and let light pass through. Sometimes, these proteins can clump together causing the lens to become clouded—this is a cataract. Over time, the protein clumps that make up cataracts can grow larger, causing blurred vision and making it harder to see and even resulting in blindness.
Be Aware Of The Signs
Cataracts may begin small, and without you even noticing any changes in your vision. Over time, the cloudy area will get larger and your vision may become dull or blurry. It may look like looking through a cloudy piece of glass. Here are some common symptoms of cataracts:
- Clouded, blurred or dim vision
- Increasing difficulty with vision at night
- Sensitivity to light and glare
- Seeing “halos” around lights
- Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
- Fading or yellowing of colors
- Double vision in a single eye
Causes And Risk Factors
There are several potential causes for cataracts, but most are due to age-related changes in the lens. That being said, some risk factors include:
- UV radiation
- Family history
- Significant alcohol consumption
Although cataracts cannot always be prevented, there are a few simple practices that can help ensure healthy vision. Simple things such as wearing sunglasses and hats to protect your eyes from the sun, or eating a nutrient-rich diet full of fruits and vegetables are simple, everyday practices that can help maintain eye health over time.
Fortunately, cataracts can be treated with full restoration of vision. Early symptoms may be improved with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses. If these measures do not help, surgery is the only effective treatment.
Surgical cataract removal is the most frequently performed surgery in the United States. It is a simple and highly successful procedure that consists of removing the clouded lens from the eye and replacing it with a clear, artificial lens. While each person heals differently, many patients report clear vision within hours of the surgery.
Your Lifelong Health Is Our Priority
As your lifelong care provider, each Vision Source® member is committed to helping you achieve clear and healthy vision. As you age, watch for changes in your vision, as well as for signs of cataracts. We want to make sure you get the most accurate information and excellent care for your individual needs!