Cataract Awareness Month
Learn everything you need to know about one of the leading causes of blindness.
Nearly 24 million Americans over the age of 40 have been diagnosed with cataracts. And the number is only rising. To help bring awareness to this growing issue, Prevent Blindness has deemed June as National Cataract Awareness Month to educate the public on the causes, symptoms, and treatments. Check out the info below to see how you can keep your vision clear and healthy.
What are Cataracts?
Cataracts are a vision disorder where the proteins in your natural lens break down and cause vision to turn blurry, hazy, or less colorful. The most common cause is age. As we get older (40 and over), normal eye changes occur as proteins begin to break down.
According to the National Eye Institute, more than half of all Americans aged 80 and older either have cataracts or have had surgery to get rid of cataracts. While there are cases of cataracts occurring in children or young adults, these cases are not common and can usually be fixed with surgery.
Causes of Cataracts
The most common cause is age, but cataracts can also form due to other reasons as well. Some inherited genetic disorders or medical conditions, such as diabetes, can increase your risk of cataracts. They can also be caused by previous eye injuries, long-term exposure to UV rays, steroid medications, and smoking.
Most cataract cases develop gradually over time. Those with early stage cataracts may not even realize they have them. As the cataract continues to grow, you’ll begin to experience more noticeable symptoms. The signs and symptoms to look out for include:
- Clouded, blurred, or dim vision
- Increasing difficulty with vision at night (especially when driving)
- Sensitivity to light and glare
- Need for brighter light for reading or other close-up activities
- Fading or yellowing colors
- Double vision in a single eye
Cataracts can only be removed with surgery. During surgery, your eye surgeon will remove your clouded natural lens and replace it with an artificial lens. While the surgery can fix the problem immediately, there is a chance that those who have cataract surgery may have their vision become hazy or cloudy again years later. However, if your cataract symptoms are not bothering you, you don’t have to remove the cataract. A new eyeglass prescription can help you see better.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should schedule an eye exam with your doctor right away. At Sterling Vision, our eye care is focused specifically on you. Give us a call or stop by one of our convenient locations to schedule your appointment today!