It's June, which means it's Cataract Awareness Month. Have you been informed that cataracts are the most common reason behind vision loss among adults aged 55 and older? In fact, more than 50% of all people 65 or older have at least some cataract development. As stated by the National Eye Institute, by the time they hit 80, more than half of all Americans will have had a cataract.
A cataract is like a veil in front of the eye's lens; one which limits or distorts the way light enters into the eye. In the interior part of your eye, the lens is contained in a membrane or capsule. As soon as aging cells break down, they start to become stuck within the capsule. As time goes on, more cells die and accumulate, and this causes the lens to become veiled, which makes eyesight fuzzy or unclear. When it comes to most people, cataracts are a normal part of aging. Other potential causes for developing a cataract include ongoing exposure to UV rays from the sun, being overweight, diabetes, high blood pressure, family history, steroid use, cigarettes and various eye injuries.
During the first phases of cataract development, stronger lighting and eyewear can be used to reduce the vision problems you may be experiencing. At some point, though, cataract surgery may be needed to help your eyesight. But, it's comforting to know that more than 90% of patients who've had cataract surgery reacquire great sight.
If you are in your fifties and noticing low vision symptoms, it may be time to discuss cataracts with your optometrist. Cataracts are treatable, and we know you want to have good vision throughout your later years.