June is both Fireworks Eye Safety Month and Cataract Awareness Month. While these observances are different, they’re both very important when it comes to your eye health.
The summer sees a huge influx of injuries from consumer fireworks which are more popular in the summer, especially as the 4th of July gets closer. Cataracts are a common eye condition all year long!
When it comes to cataracts and fireworks safety, the best way to arm yourself is with knowledge. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about cataracts and fireworks!
With age, it’s natural for the body to undergo chemical changes. One result of these changes is that the natural lens in the eye becomes cloudy.
When this happens, it’s called a cataract. Although the exact reason that cataracts form is unknown besides aging, there are a few risk factors to know. These include:
- Being over the age of 40
- Tobacco use
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Extensive damage from sunlight
While you can lower your risk for cataracts by leading a healthy lifestyle, there is, unfortunately, no way to prevent cataracts. Half of all adults will have at least one cataract by the time they reach 75.
But by staying healthy, you can lower your risk of developing cataracts earlier in life. When you do get cataracts, it’s helpful to see an eye doctor regularly to receive a diagnosis when they appear. This will allow your eye doctor to track their progress.
Cataract Diagnosis and Treatment
How do you know if you have cataracts? The only way to know for sure is to have an eye doctor diagnose them.
When they first start to form, symptoms may be too subtle to notice. Because cataracts also develop over a long period of time, it can be hard to know if the symptoms are because of them.
Many people assume they are part of the aging process. But the most common cataract symptoms include:
- Blurry vision
- Light sensitivity
- Poor night vision
- Trouble seeing contrast
Some of these symptoms may be mistaken for presbyopia, or age-related farsightedness, which is also common in adults over the age of 40. Many people who have cataracts also have presbyopia.
It’s important to see an eye doctor regularly, especially when you’re over 40. Seeing your eye doctor allows you to have any cataracts and eye conditions diagnosed before vision loss occurs.
The only treatment for cataracts is to have them removed with cataract surgery. This is recommended when your cataracts begin to affect your quality of life.
If you experience cataract symptoms, see your eye doctor. This will allow you to receive a diagnosis and they can help you determine when cataract surgery is right for you.
Thousands end up in the hospital every year due to injuries from consumer fireworks. The best way to keep your eyes (and the rest of your body!) safe from chemical burns, lacerations, and other injuries from fireworks is to stay away from consumer fireworks.
Stick to professional shows! If you must use fireworks at home, follow strict safety guidelines and keep young children away from them.
But the safest option when it comes to fireworks is to leave them to the professionals. Luckily, in the summer, there are plenty of opportunities to see fireworks with your family at community events.
You can have fun and enjoy a fireworks show without having to risk injury to yourself or your loved ones!
Looking to keep your eyes safe this summer? Schedule an appointment at Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, ME!