Cataracts can affect the elderly, adults, and even children alike. Learn how we can stop it from being the leading cause of vision loss.
Cataracts are not only a natural way of aging. They can affect your vision at any age. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, over 24.4 million people in America of age 40 and older are affected by cataracts. It is stated that by age 75, half of Americans will suffer from this unfortunate condition. That being said, 3 out of 10,000 children have pediatric cataracts.
What are cataracts?
A cataract can be described as a clouding of the eye that can also be opaque. The cataract takes over the lens of your eye and makes it hard for light to pass through correctly. It makes your vision blurry, less colorful, and hazy, making it hard to see your loved ones’ faces, read your favorite book, watch your beloved sitcom, drive, and enjoy life. With time, cataracts can lead to absolute blindness.
While both eyes are affected by cataracts, they progress differently and at a diverse rate. No condition is the same. The different types and places of attack include:
- Nuclear – the center of the lens
- Cortical – the edge of the lens
- Posterior Subcapsular – the back of the lens
- Congenital – born/childhood genetic condition
Cataracts don’t usually cause pain; however, drastic vision changes are developed as they progress. Some of the symptoms you might start noticing are:
- Faded colors
- Halo around lights
- Seeing double
- Film-like sensation on your eyes
- Constant changes in prescription glasses/contacts
- Seeing a milky/yellow spot in your pupil
More often than not, a cataract occurs as you age. Although the exact cause is unknown, there are some possible risk factors.
- Long-term exposure to UV rays or heat
- Eye inflammation
- Before birth events
- Prolonged steroid usage
- Eye injuries or diseases
- Smoking and drinking alcohol
- High blood pressure
Health tips and treatment
According to Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness, “cataracts are very common and affect more people than any other eye disease. The good news is that vision loss from cataracts can be restored with treatment. We encourage everyone to learn the facts about cataracts and the steps that can be taken to see clearly.”
If you are over 60 or suspect you might have cataracts, you should get a dilated eye exam every 1-2 years. The dilated eye exam is super simple and painless! Regardless of what type of cataract you might develop, you will need surgery.
You can prevent cataracts by taking steps as simple as protecting your eyes from the sun. Use eyewear when using power tools or in specific activities to avoid damage. You can also help your odds by quitting smoking (get free support at 1-800-QUIT-NOW). Lastly, make good food choices by eating fruits, veggies, leafy greens, grains, and nuts.
Take control of your health and protect your vision as you age. You can find a doctor to help you with this condition by visiting the Mayo Clinic, MyAlcon for detailed information, and Cataract What You Should Know from the National Eye Institute.
Join Abarca in bringing awareness and resources to prevent blindness. If you or a loved one suffers from cataracts, please visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology to learn more and explore available support services.