A surprising number of people aren't aware that cataracts affect over 20.5 million Americans age 40 and older. In truth, over half of individuals above age 65 have some amount of cataracts.
What are cataracts?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye's clear lens. This prevents the transmission of light necessary for proper vision.
Signs of cataracts
Many people over 40 attribute loss of sight with age however cataracts do have some symptoms that are distinct from normal age-related vision problems. Depending on the type of cataract, you may experience blurred vision, sensitivity to sun light or artificial light or a decrease in the brightness of color. Some cataracts are completely asymptomatic 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.
Cataract derives from cataracta which means ''waterfall'' in Latin. This may be because the appearance of white opacities in the eye resembles the cloudy rush of water which also appears white. Cataracts that develop as a result of aging typically are characterized by an initial opacity in the lens, followed by swelling and shrinkage of the lens resulting in a total loss of transparency and loss of sight.
Cataract Prevention and Treatment
Researchers have not yet determined fail-safe ways to avoid the development of cataracts but some say that reducing ultraviolet exposure your eyes from UV rays with sunglasses can reduce cataract development. Some research suggests that antioxidants and reducing consumption of salt may also prevent development.
Although early vision loss can be treated using corrective devices such as eyeglasses or magnifying lenses, eventually vision may be impaired enough to necessitate surgery. Cataract surgery is in fact the most frequently performed surgery in America and is generally a success. Generally, the surgeon removes the opaque lens and implants a clear plastic lens called an IOL (intraocular lens). For 9 out of 10 patients, vision is restored to between 20/20 and 20/40.
Don't let vision diseases go undiagnosed. A yearly eye exam is advised for every adult, particularly those over 40. Contact our Long Beach, CA optometry practice today to book your exam.