Cataracts seem to be a more common eye health and vision problem that we hear about today. In part this is because as patients age you are no longer willing to accept the limitations that decreased vision from cataracts can impose on your day to day activities. This, combined with ability to restore vision loss from cataracts in a safe, effective and predictable manner with cataract surgery and lens implants for vision correction motivates more patients, at early ages, to seek solutions to help us maintain an active, engaged and productive lifestyle.
Approximately 25 million Americans have cataracts, which cause cloudy, blurry or dim vision and often develop with advancing age. As everyone grows older, the lenses of their eyes thicken and become cloudier. Eventually, they may find it more difficult to read street signs. Colors may seem dull. These symptoms may signal cataracts, which affect about 70 percent of people by age 75. Fortunately, cataracts can be corrected with surgery. Ophthalmologists who are cataract surgeons perform around three million cataract surgeries each year to restore vision to those patients. Here are some facts people should know about cataracts.
- Age isn’t the only risk factor for cataracts. Though most everyone will develop cataracts with age, recent studies show that lifestyle and behavior can influence when and how severely you develop cataracts. Diabetes, extensive exposure to sunlight, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and certain ethnicities have all been linked to increased risk of cataracts. Eye injuries, prior eye surgery and long-term use of steroid medication, perhaps for asthma, allergies or breathing problems or arthritis- can also result in cataracts. If you have any of these and are experiencing blurry or cloudy vision, difficulty with night vision especially glare or haloes, you should schedule an eye exam and alert your eye doctor.
- Cataracts cannot be prevented, but you can lower your risk. Wearing UV-blocking sunglasses and brimmed hats when outside can help. Several studies suggest that eating more vitamin C-rich foods may delay how fast cataracts form. Also, avoid smoking cigarettes, which have been shown to increase the risk of cataract development.
- Surgery may help improve more than just your vision. During the procedure, the natural clouded lens is replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens, or IOL, which should improve your vision significantly. Patients have a variety of lenses to choose from, each with different benefits. Lens implants today can correct a full range of vision and help you see clearly at far, arm’s length and near-without being dependent on eyeglasses! While this is great for many patients, studies have shown that cataract surgery can improve quality of life and reduce the risk of falling which is a potentially serious risk and problem for seniors. If you think a cataract is possibly interfering with your ability to see well you should schedule an eye exam and alert your eye doctor.
If you or some you know is experiencing cataract symptoms such as cloudy foggy vision, glare or difficult night driving and would like to learn more about cataract surgery & lens implants please call your local optometrist to schedule an appointment. If specialty care, treatment or surgery is required, please ask to be referred to one of the physicians at Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, or visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup.