A surprising number of individuals aren't aware that cataracts are the leading cause of blindness amongst people over 54. In truth, over half of adults above age sixty-five have some degree of cataracts.
What is a cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye's natural lens. The clouding inhibits the passage of light needed for proper vision.
Symptoms of cataracts
Cataracts can often be brushed off as normal age-related sight loss, however there are some symptoms that distinguish them. Depending on the type of cataract, symptoms include hazy vision, sensitivity to 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 called ''second sight''.
Cataracts can be classified by three categories which are categorized by where they are positioned within the lens. A cataract located toward the rear of the lens is called a subcapsular cataract. Subcapsular cataracts are especially common in individuals with diabetes, extreme cases of farsightedness or retinitis pigmentosa or are prescribed large amounts of steroid medications. A nuclear cataract is positioned at the nucleus or center of the lens and is generally associated with increased age. The third type of cataract, a cortical cataract generally occurs in the lens cortex, the part encircling the central nucleus. Cortical cataracts are characterized by white opacities that start in the outer areas of the lens and work their way to the center.
Preventing and Treating Cataracts
Researchers have not found surefire ways to prevent cataracts but some say that reducing UV exposure your eyes from UV rays with sunglasses can reduce cataract development. Some studies suggest that antioxidants and reducing salt intake can also be preventative.
During the early stages, vision correction can be used to correct loss of sight, nevertheless, eventually eyesight will likely be impaired to a level to necessitate surgery. Surgery for cataracts is in fact the most frequently performed surgery in America and is typically very successful. In most cases, the surgeon removes the opaque lens and implants a clear plastic lens called an IOL (intraocular lens). For 9 out of 10 patients, they are able to restore vision to between 20/20 and 20/40.
Don't let vision diseases go undiagnosed. An annual eye exam is advised for every adult, particularly those over 40. Contact our Temecula, CA optometry practice today to book an exam.