A cataract is a clouding of the eye lens, which can be caused by age, genetic predisposition, and medical conditions. Protein in the eye causes clumps, clouding the lens and blocking light from getting to the retina.
Cataracts are a relatively common condition that can affect one or both eyes. Symptoms of the condition include cloudy or blurry vision, glare, halos around lights, and poor night vision. The following are facts about cataracts.
Cataracts are usually associated with older people, but they can affect people of all ages, even newborns. Most patients are elderly, but the condition can also affect young people. Age is a risk factor for developing cataracts, but there are other factors.
They include diabetes, past eye trauma, high blood pressure, prolonged sun exposure, and high myopia. Other risk factors are obesity, smoking, alcohol, use of steroid medications, and a family history of cataracts.
Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in individuals over 40 years, affecting over 20 million people worldwide. More people suffer from the condition than glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration.
Cataracts affect almost 80 percent of individuals over 60 and more than 90 percent of those over 70. They cannot be reversed, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing cataracts.
They develop gradually, getting worse over the years as they develop a yellowish or brownish tinge. They are painless, and most people do not realize they have them until they experience significant vision changes. The first symptom is cloudiness and blurriness that make everything appear hazy. Extreme light sensitivity is usually the first level of discomfort.
Prolonged exposure to sun rays can increase an individual's risk of developing cataracts. UV rays are harmful as they accelerate the breakdown of protein in the eye lens, causing the formation of cataracts. Wearing good quality UV protection sunglasses outdoors is an excellent way to protect the eyes from harmful rays.
It is vital to get regular eye exams to remain in good eye health. Eye examinations allow eye doctors to detect early signs and recommend treatment. If you can still perform activities safely, the doctor may not recommend immediate surgery. Surgery becomes necessary when cataracts interfere with your vision and impact your lifestyle.
There are lifestyle changes that can help prevent cataracts and promote healthy eyesight. A healthy diet with plenty of vitamins and antioxidants will improve your vision. Regular exercise and getting adequate sleep can impact overall eye health. It is also vital to quit smoking. Smokers have a higher risk of developing cataracts than those who do not smoke.
For more about cataracts and some frequently asked questions we receive about cataracts, call Quality Eye at (904) 601-1300 to schedule an appointment today.