Aging; it’s inevitable. And it can come with the most terrific ups: a stronger sense of self-confidence, a wealth of wisdom, and stronger family ties. On the other hand, it can also come with its challenges, and there is one specific challenge affecting 24.4 million Americans over 40: cataracts. By age 75, approximately half of all Americans have this eye condition.
Cataracts occur when the protein in our eyes start to clump together on top of the eye’s lens. The lens is the part where light passes through; the lighter allowed to pass through, the clearer the vision. The clump of proteins then begins to form a cloud-like substance, which blocks the light from getting through the lens.
Clouded or blurred vision
Near or farsightedness
Distortion of color
Difficulty driving at night
Sensitivity to light
Seeing “halos” around lights
Age is a dominant factor, but not the only factor. Anyone can develop cataracts if they’ve had an eye injury, or exposed to the sun for a prolonged period of time. A poor diet, smoking, and drinking can also cause cataracts.
Luckily, a change in diet, lifestyle choices, changes in eyewear prescriptions, wearing sunglasses and more frequent check-ups with your eye doctor can dramatically improve your chances of maintaining healthy vision. Specifically, go for the colorful fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, where you’ll find antioxidant vitamins and phytochemicals, such as vitamins A, C and E, lutein and zeaxanthin.
For those who need a little extra help in eradicating more severe cataracts, surgery is an option. Cataract surgery is the simple replacement of your natural, cloudy lens with a new, highly advanced artificial lens. The best part? Advances in technology have made post-surgery recovery much more tolerable. The most common follow up is a pure administration of anti-inflammatory eye drops for a total of 2-4 weeks.
In honor of Cataracts Awareness Month, we wanted to show how important it is to know the symptoms and causes of cataracts. Most importantly, being aware of the potential for this eye condition can help prevent it in some cases. Don’t wait to get your evaluations! Time is of the essence when it comes to vision.