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Did you know that June is Cataract Awareness Month? Together with Prevent Blindness, the eye doctors at Florida Eye Microsurgical Institute are dedicated to increasing awareness of cataracts and educating patients about one of the leading causes of treatable vision loss in the United States. According to Prevent Blindness, more than 25 million Americans will develop a cataract. As the population in America continues to age, the number of cataract cases will likely increase by 50 percent to 38.5 million by 2032.

What Is A Cataract? 

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens, which blocks or changes the passage of light into the eye. The eye’s lens is located behind the pupil and the colored iris and is typically transparent. Vision may become blurry or dim because the cataract stops light from properly passing through the retina. Generally, a cataract does not cause pain, redness, or tears.

Three Facts You Should Know About Cataracts

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, symptoms such as seeing dull colors or difficulty reading street signs may signal cataracts, which affect about 70 percent of people by age 75. The excellent news is cataracts can be corrected with surgery. Here are a few facts you should know about the condition.

  • Lower Your Risk. Wearing UV-blocking sunglasses and brimmed hats when outside. Several studies suggest that eating more vitamin C-rich foods may delay how fast cataracts form. Also, not smoking helps to decrease the risk of cataract development.
  • Age Is Not The Only Risk Factor For Cataracts. Studies have shown that lifestyle and behavior can influence when and how severely you develop cataracts. High blood pressure, diabetes, extensive exposure to sunlight, and obesity have all been linked to increased cataracts. Also, eye injuries and long-term use of steroid medication can result in cataracts. Talk to your eye doctor if you have any of these risk factors.
  • Surgery May Help Improve Your Vision. The natural clouded lens is replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens, or IOL, which should improve your vision significantly after the procedure. Patients have a variety of lenses to choose from, each with different benefits. Studies have shown that cataract surgery can improve the quality of life and reduce the risk of falling.

What Age Do Cataracts Develop?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than 17 percent of Americans above 40 have a cataract in either one or both eyes. Although age is one of the most common reasons cataracts can develop, any individual can get cataracts. Some babies are born with cataracts, a condition known as congenital cataracts.

A Few Risk Factors And Causes For Developing Cataracts

  • Normal aging process
  • Eye Injuries
  • Eye Inflammation
  • Prolonged exposure to the sun
  • Family history of cataracts
  • Having conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Being a smoker

It is vital to living a healthy lifestyle to reduce your risk of developing cataracts earlier.

What Are The Symptoms Of Cataracts?

Recognizing a few symptoms early is beneficial to preserving your vision. Here are a few symptoms to look out for:

  • Blurry vision
  • Colors appear faded or dull
  • Double vision
  • Difficulty seeing at night, particularly when driving
  • Glared and halos around lights
  • Increased sensitivity to light

Tips To Slow The Progress Of Cataracts

  • Schedule Your Annual Eye Exam – seeing your eye doctor once a year allows them to monitor any cataract progression
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle – Aim to exercise at least 3 – 4 times a week and if you smoke, drop the habit, and quit. If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation.
  • Protect Your Eyes From The Sun’s UV Rays We are on the heels of the first day of summer, where there will be lots of fun out in the sun. Please remember to protect your eyes from the UV rays. The sun can lead to the early development of cataracts and cause other damage to your eyes.

Our First Goal Is Our Patients’ Lifelong Eye Health 

If you notice changes to your vision, it is a good idea to schedule an eye exam TODAY. There is no reason to suffer vision loss due to cataracts with modern medical technologies.

Your Clear Vision Is Our Top Priority!

References:  American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Optometric Association, and Prevent Blindness   

The content is researched and vetted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Optometric Association. This newsletter provides information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The content provided within this newsletter and any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered medical advice. If the reader or any person has a medical concern, they should consult with an appropriately licensed physician.

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