Many aren't aware that cataracts are the number one cause of sight loss amongst adults over the age of 54. In fact, more than 50% of the people over age 65 have some amount of cataracts.
What are cataracts?
A cataract is when the lens becomes clouded. This prohibits the passage of light needed for vision.
Signs of cataracts
Many people over 40 attribute vision loss with getting older however cataracts do have certain symptoms that are distinct from typical age-related eyesight loss. Depending on the type of cataract, symptoms include blurry vision, increased glare from light or a noticeable dullness of colors. Some types of cataracts are completely asymptomatic until they are more advanced while others may even show signs of a temporary improvement in near vision known as ''second sight''.
There are three types of cataracts which are distinguished by where they are located within the lens. A cataract located toward the rear of the lens is called a subcapsular cataract. Subcapsular cataracts are a higher risk for individuals that have diabetes, extreme cases of farsightedness or retinitis pigmentosa or are taking high doses of steroid medications.A nuclear cataract is located at the nucleus or center of the lens and is typically found in conjunction with growing older. Finally, a cortical cataract generally is located in the lens cortex, the part surrounding the central nucleus. Cortical cataracts often start off with white opacities that start in the outer areas of the lens and work their way to the central area.
Cataract Prevention and Treatment
There is no fail-safe way to prevent the development of cataracts but some say that protecting your eyes from UV rays by wearing sunglasses can reduce cataract development. Some studies show that antioxidants and reducing consumption of salt may also play a role in prevention.
In the initial stages, visual aids can be used to correct vision loss, however, eventually eyesight may be impaired enough to require surgery. Surgery for cataracts is actually the most common surgery in the US and is typically a success. In the standard surgery, the surgeon removes the clouded lens and implants an intraocular lens (IOL) made of plastic. In nine out of 10 patients, they are able to restore vision to between 20/20 and 20/40.
Don't let eye problems go untreated. A yearly eye exam is advised for every adult, particularly those over 40. Call our Fayetteville, NC optometry practice today to book your appointment.