Prevent Blindness America has declared June as Cataract Awareness Month. Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States, and it is the leading cause of blindness in the world. There are 24 million Americans over the age of 40 who are affected by cataracts, so it seems fitting that an entire month should be dedicated to education and awareness.
What is a Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens, which blocks or changes the passage of light into the eye. The lens of the eye is located behind the pupil and the colored iris, and is normally transparent. The lens helps to focus images onto the retina - which transmits the images to the brain.
Your vision may become blurry or dim because the cataract stops light from properly passing through to your retina.
What are the signs of a Cataract?
A Cataract generally does not cause pain, redness or tears. However, these changes in your vision may be signs of cataract:
- Blurred vision, double vision, ghost images or the sense of a film over the eyes.
- Lights seem too dim for reading or close-up work, or you are dazzled by strong light.
- Changing eyeglass prescriptions often. The change may not seem to help your vision.
- You may sometimes notice the cataract in your eye. It may look like a milky or yellowish spot in the pupil (the center of your eye is normally black).
Am I at risk for developing cataracts?
The exact cause of a cataract is unknown. There is no proven way to prevent age-related cataracts. Most often, a cataract is part of getting older. As you age, you are at greater risk of developing a cataract. However, the term 'age-related' can be a little misleading. You don't have to be a senior citizen to get this type of cataract. In fact, people can have an age-related cataract in their 40s and 50s. But during middle age, most cataracts are small and do not affect vision. It is after age 60 that most cataracts cause problems with a person's vision. There are also several possible risk factors for cataracts, such as:
However, choosing a healthy lifestyle can slow the progression of cataracts. Some ways to delay the progression of cataracts include avoiding smoking, reducing exposure to UV rays, eating healthy foods, and wearing proper eye protection to avoid eye injury.
What is the treatment for cataracts?
Even though cataracts are so prevalent, they are very simple to treat. Cataract surgery is one of the most effective surgeries with a success rate of 95 percent. The solution to cataracts is cataract surgery, which requires a surgeon to remove the deteriorated lens and replace it with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens or IOL. Over 3 million Americans undergo cataract surgery annually, making it one of the most common surgeries in the United States. In fact, the entire surgery lasts only about 20 minutes, and most people can resume normal activities fairly rapidly.
YOUR SIGHT MATTERS - BE GOOD TO YOUR EYES
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