Many individuals aren't aware that cataracts affect approximately 20.5 million Americans over the age of 40. In truth, more than 50% of senior citizens have some amount of cataracts.
What is a cataract?
Cataracts occur when the ocular lens becomes clouded. This prevents the passage of light needed for eyesight.
How do I know I have cataracts?
Often adults attribute vision loss with age but cataracts do have a number of symptoms that are distinct from regular age-related eyesight loss. Depending on the type of cataract, you may experience blurry vision, increased glare from sun light or artificial light or a decrease in the brightness of color. Some types of cataracts are completely asymptomatic until they are more advanced while others may even result in what is known as second sight'' or a temporary improvement in near vision.
The term cataract comes from cataracta which means ''waterfall'' in Latin. This may be because the appearance of opaque clouds in the lens resembles the white cloudy rapids seen in a waterfall. Senile cataracts, which occur in the elderly usually start off with an initial opacity in the lens, followed by swelling and shrinkage of the lens resulting in eventual blindness.
Cataract Prevention and Treatment
Researchers have not found guaranteed ways to avoid cataracts but some say that reducing UV exposure your eyes from UV rays with sunglasses can reduce cataract development. Some studies show that taking antioxidants and reducing consumption of salt may also play a role in prevention.
In the early stages, vision correction can help improve vision loss, however, at some point vision may deteriorate enough to necessitate surgical treatment. Surgery for cataracts is in fact the most common surgery in America and is usually quite successful. Generally, the surgeon takes out the lens and implants a clear plastic lens called an IOL (intraocular lens). For 90% of patients, nearly perfect vision is achieved.
Don't let vision problems go untreated. A yearly eye exam is advised for every adult, particularly those over 40. Call our Manchester, CT optometry practice today to schedule an appointment.