Many adults aren't aware that cataracts affect approximately 20.5 million Americans over the age of 40. In truth, over half of adults above 65 have some degree of cataract development.
What are cataracts?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye's natural lens. The clouding prevents the transmission of light that is essential for eyesight.
How do I know I have cataracts?
Cataracts can often be mistaken as regular age-related sight decline, however there are a number of symptoms to look for that distinguish them. Depending on the type of cataract, symptoms include blurred vision, increased glare from light or a noticeable dullness of colors. Some cataracts show no signs until they are more advanced while others may even show signs of what is known as second sight'' or a temporary improvement in near vision.
The word cataract originates from cataracta which means ''waterfall'' in Latin. This may be because the appearance of opaque clouds in the lens is similar to the cloudy rush of water which also appears white. Senile cataracts, which occur in the elderly typically appear as an initial cloudiness in the lens, followed by swelling and shrinkage of the lens resulting in a complete loss of transparency and loss of sight.
Preventing and Treating Cataracts
There is little you can do to prevent cataracts, other than guard your eyes from UV exposure by using sunglasses. Some research suggests that taking antioxidants and limited salt intake may also play a role in prevention.
In the beginning stages, vision correction can help improve vision loss, nevertheless, at some point vision may deteriorate enough to necessitate surgical treatment. Cataract surgery is in fact the most common surgery in the United States and is typically very successful. In most cases, the surgeon takes out the clouded lens and implants what is called an intraocular lens (IOL) made of plastic. In nine out of 10 patients, vision is restored to between 20/20 and 20/40.
If you are 40 or over it is important to schedule an annual eye exam to check for signs of vision diseases such as cataracts. Contact our Kennesaw, Georgia eye practice today to book an exam.