Many people aren't aware that cataracts are the primary cause of blindness for adults over the age of 54. In fact, over half of individuals over sixty-five have some amount of cataracts.
What are cataracts?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens. This prohibits the passage of light that is essential for eyesight.
How do I know I have cataracts?
Cataracts can often be brushed off as normal age-related vision decline, however there are a number of symptoms to look for that set them apart. Depending on the type of cataract, symptoms include slightly blurry vision, sensitivity to light or a noticeable dullness of colors. Some cataracts show no signs until they are well developed while others may even show signs of what is known as second sight'' or a temporary improvement in near vision.
The term cataract originates from cataracta which means ''waterfall'' in Latin. This may be because the appearance of white opacities in the eye is similar to the cloudy rush of water which also appears white. Cataracts that develop as a result of aging typically show an initial cloudiness in the lens, followed by swelling and shrinkage of the lens leading to a total opacity and loss of sight.
Preventing and Treating Cataracts
Researchers have not yet found guaranteed ways to avoid the development of cataracts but some say that guarding your eyes from UV rays with sunglasses can reduce cataract development. Some studies suggest that antioxidants and reducing consumption of salt may also be preventative.
Although initial loss of sight can be treated with visual aids such as eyeglasses or magnifying devices, at some point vision will likely deteriorate to a level to require surgery. Cataract surgery is actually the most common surgery in America and is typically a success. Generally, the doctor takes out the clouded lens and implants an intraocular lens (IOL) made of plastic. For 9 out of 10 patients, they are able to restore vision to between 20/20 and 20/40.
If you are 40 or over you should schedule an annual eye examination to detect symptoms of vision diseases such as cataracts. Call our North Vancouver, optometry practice today to schedule an appointment.