Over 20 million adults age 40 and older and half of seniors 80 and older have cataracts, and that’s just in the US.
Because cataracts are so common, it’s important to know what they are, their symptoms, and how they can be treated.
The Basics Of Cataracts
Normally, the proteins inside the lenses of our eyes line up in a way that makes them completely transparent, but over time they can begin to clump together in a way that blocks light. This clump of proteins is a cataract. It doesn’t affect the rest of the eye’s anatomy, but it can dim or fully obscure vision. Cataracts are so common that they are the leading cause of blindness across the world.
Cataracts may only take up a small area of the eyes’ lenses when they first begin to form, and the effect isn’t that noticeable. However, over time, the following symptoms may appear:
- Dim, blurry, or cloudy vision
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Light sensitivity and increased glare
- Halo effect around lights
- Frequent changes in corrective lense prescriptions
- Fading or yellowing colors
- Double vision in one eye
Causes Aside From Old Age
While advancing age is the most common risk factor for cataracts, plenty of people get them starting at age 40, and several things increase our chances of getting them, including:
- Family history of cataracts
- UV radiation
- High blood pressure
- Previous eye injury or inflammation
- Previous eye surgery
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Prolonged corticosteroid medication use
Now For The Good News
Eventually, glasses or contacts won’t be able to do enough to counter the effects of cataracts. Fortunately, an eye surgeon can easily remove the cataracts and restore the patient’s clear vision, and it only takes one short surgery per eye. Cataract surgery is such a low-risk, routine, and simple surgery that it is performed more frequently than any other surgery in the US — at a rate of three million surgeries per year!
Sometimes cataract surgery can even correct other vision problems, like astigmatism:
Are You Experiencing Symptoms?
If you or someone you love has been dealing with cataract symptoms, there’s no need to suffer in silence! Schedule an appointment with your local Vision Source® member optometrist so that they can start making a plan to get you or your loved one back to a life free of cloudy vision!
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