In the United States, this month is Cataract Awareness Month. Have you been informed that cataracts are the most commonly occurring reason behind deteriorating vision among those 55 and older? Actually, more than half of the population who are 65 or older have some degree of cataract development. As reported by the National Eye Institute, by the time they reach 80 years old, more than half of all Americans will either have a cataract or had cataract surgery.
A cataract is like a veil in front of the lens in the eye; one which limits or affects the passage of light into the eye. Within your eye, the lens is held inside a sealed bag or capsule. As more mature cells die, they become trapped inside the capsule. After some time, more and more cells cease to function and accumulate, and this causes the lens to get cloudy, leading to vision that is blurry. For most people, cataracts are a natural side effect of aging. Other potential dangers for developing a cataract include long-term exposure to UV rays, being overweight, diabetes, abnormal blood pressure, inflammation in the eye, steroid use, cigarettes and various eye injuries.
During the first phases of cataract development, brighter lighting and eyewear can be implemented to reduce the vision problems you might be having. Eventually, though, a surgical procedure may be needed to improve your eyesight. But, it's comforting to know that more than 90% of patients who have cataract surgery regain great vision.
If you are over 55 and experiencing low vision, the time has come to discuss cataracts with your eye care professional. There are treatments available for cataracts, and we know you want to see well throughout your golden years.