In the United States, this month is Cataract Awareness Month. Did you know that cataracts are the leading culprit of loss of vision among those 55 and older? Actually, more than half of the population aged 65 and older have at the very least, partial cataract development.
So what exactly is a cataract? A cataract is a fogging of the lens in the eye; one that obstructs or alters the passage of light into the eye. In the interior part of your eye, the lens is held inside a sort of sac or capsule. As old cells break down, they get caught within the capsule. Over time, more cells die and assemble, which causes the lens to become veiled, leading to vision that is blurry. For most people, cataracts are an expected part of older age. Additional causes for developing a cataract include extended exposure to UV rays from the sun, obesity, diabetes, abnormal blood pressure, family history, inflammation of the eye, long-term steroid use, eye injuries and smoking.
During the first phases of cataract development, stronger lighting and eyewear can be used to minimize the vision issues you might experience. At some point, however, surgery may be needed to fix your vision. But, it's comforting to know that more than 9 out of 10 patients who've had cataract surgery regain great vision.
If you are in your fifties and having a hard time seeing in low light, call our office to discuss cataracts with your eye doctor. There are treatments available for cataracts, and we know you want to have total visibility throughout your later years.