The start of summer and warm weather begins this month, but June also marks Cataract Awareness month! The goal of this month is to bring a better understanding of cataracts, a common eye disease that affects millions. While you have probably heard of cataracts, here are some key facts you may not know about them.
The most common cause of cataracts is age.
While younger people can develop cataracts, they tend to develop more frequently in people aged 55 and older. Cataracts generally slowly develop overtime, so their presence may be detected in a person’s 40s, but may not need removal until that person is in their 60s. Interestingly, about half of all Americans have cataracts or have undergone cataract surgery by age 80.
Everyone will eventually develop cataracts.
While science and technology is helping us learn more about cataracts, complete cataract prevention still remains a mystery. However, research suggests that slowing the formation of free radicals in the eyes and body in turn slows down the development of cataracts. Here’s some tips that may slow down the process:
- Abstain from smoking.
- Wear sunglasses with UV ray protection.
- Take daily vitamins or consume foods rich in Vitamin C and E.
- Drink alcohol only in moderation.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- If you are diabetic, keep your blood sugar levels under control.
Typical first symptoms of cataracts are blurry vision and difficulty driving at night.
As we mentioned, cataracts are oftentimes slow to develop, and do so over a longer period of time. In fact, people can have cataracts for years and not realize it until symptoms actually begin to show. Most commonly, people have complaints about difficulty driving at night, as cataracts can cause a halo and/or glare around lights. Additionally, increasingly blurry vision and rapid changes in glass prescriptions may also indicate cataract formation.
Once a cataract has formed, the only way to remove it completely is to undergo surgery. While many believe this procedure is extensive, removing cataracts is a fairly simple surgery. The best place to begin your cataract journey is to visit one of our qualified and experienced physicians. For cataract monitoring, management, and information about surgery, please contact us for a consultation today!