It's June, which means it's Cataract Awareness Month. Did you know that cataracts are the leading reason behind vision loss among patients who are over 55 years old? Actually, more than 50% of those who are 65 and older have some degree of cataract development. According to the National Eye Institute, by the time they reach 80 years old, more than half 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 that limits or alters the how light enters into the eye. Inside your eye, the lens is found within a membrane or capsule. When more mature cells stop functioning, they become trapped within the capsule. After some time, more cells follow suit and gather, which causes the lens to get hazy, which makes eyesight fuzzy or unclear. For a lot of people, cataracts are a natural part of aging. Additional dangers for developing a cataract include extended exposure to UV rays, obesity, diabetes, abnormal blood pressure, inflammation in the eye, long-term steroid use, eye injuries and smoking.
In the first stages of cataract development, more efficient lighting and glasses can be prescribed to lessen the vision issues you might be having. At a certain point, however, surgery may be necessary in order to fix your eyesight. It's worth nothing that more than 90 percent of people who've had cataract surgery regain excellent vision.
If you are in your 50s and having a hard time seeing in low light, it may be time to discuss cataracts with your eye care professional. Cataracts are treatable, and we know you want to have good vision throughout your later years.