June is Cataract Awareness month. Are you aware that cataracts are the main reason behind deteriorating vision among those 55 and older? Actually, more than fifty percent of all North Americans 65 or older have at least some cataract development. As reported by the National Eye Institute, by age 80, in excess of 50% of all Americans will have either had cataract surgery, or will have a cataract.
So what exactly is a cataract? A cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens; one which blocks or distorts the passage of light into the eye. Within the eye, the lens is held inside a sort of sac or capsule. When old cells die, they start to become stuck inside the capsule. As time goes on, a large amount of cells cease to function and assemble, causing the lens to get hazy, leading to vision that is blurry. Cataracts are a normal part of older age. Other risk factors for developing a cataract include harsh heat or ongoing exposure to UV rays, being overweight, diabetes, high blood pressure, family history, ongoing steroid use, eye injuries and smoking.
Throughout the early phases of cataract development, more efficient lighting and glasses can be used to minimize the vision issues you may be experiencing. At a certain point in the future, however, surgery might be required to help your vision. It's worth nothing that more than 90% of patients who've had cataract surgery reacquire excellent sight.
If you are in your 60s and having a hard time seeing in low light, call us to discuss cataracts with your eye care professional. The prognosis for cataracts is excellent, and we know you want to be able to see well throughout your golden years.