Many aren't aware that cataracts affect over 20.5 million Americans age 40 and older. In truth, over half of senior citizens have some amount of cataract development.
What are cataracts?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye's clear lens. The clouding prohibits the transmission of light that is essential for proper eyesight.
How do I know I have cataracts?
Often people over 40 attribute loss of sight with getting older however cataracts do have some symptoms that are distinct from typical age-related eyesight loss. Depending on the type of cataract, you may experience blurry vision, increased glare from light or a decrease in color vibrancy. Some cataracts show no symptoms until they are well developed while others may even result in what is known as second sight'' or a temporary improvement in near vision.
Types of Cataracts
Cataracts are classified by three types which are distinguished by the position within the lens. A subcapsular cataract is located at the rear of the lens. Subcapsular cataracts are a higher risk for individuals that have diabetes, high farsightedness or retinitis pigmentosa or are taking large amounts of steroid medications. A nuclear cataract is a cataract positioned at the nucleus or center of the lens and is generally found in conjunction with aging. Finally, a cortical cataract usually is located in the lens cortex, the area that surrounds the nucleus. Cortical cataracts often start off with white opacities that start in the periphery of the lens and work their way to the center.
Cataract Prevention and Treatment
Researchers have not yet found surefire ways to prevent cataracts but some say that guarding your eyes from UV rays with sunglasses can reduce cataract development. Some research indicates that taking antioxidants and reduced consumption of salt may also prevent development.
During the initial stages, vision correction can help treat vision loss, however, eventually eyesight will likely deteriorate to a level to necessitate surgical treatment. 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 replaces it with what is called an intraocular lens (IOL) made of plastic. For 90% of patients, nearly perfect vision is achieved.
Don't let eye problems go untreated. A yearly eye exam is advised for every adult, particularly those over 40. Call our Glastonbury, CT optometry practice today to schedule an appointment.