We all enjoy birthdays, but the more you have, the closer you get to some unpleasant side effects, and one of those is the risk of cataracts. The National Eye Institute estimates that about half of all Americans 80 and over either have had surgery for or have developed cataracts.
Cataracts occur when the lens start to cloud, often in middle age, and gradually worsen. Proteins in the eye start to break down, clumping together and eventually blurring your vision. Some people experience a fading of colors, see double images, have trouble seeing at night, or have other visual distortions. Cataracts may develop in only one eye or at different rates for each eye.
While aging is the most common cause, there may be other factors, such as smoking, some chronic conditions like diabetes, certain medications, or too much sunlight, especially without sunglasses. Cataracts often take many years to develop, and there is some evidence that the risk may run in families.
Taking good care of your eyes with regular checkups is the best thing you can do to prevent and deal with cataracts. By going in for annual eye exams and sharing symptoms and concerns with an eye specialist, you can work as a team.
There are several recommendations for handling cataracts, such as wearing sunglasses more often, avoiding night driving, and changing a prescription for glasses or contacts. When it interferes with most of your daily living activities, though, surgery may be the preferred solution.
Cataract surgery has improved remarkably over the years, and with high-tech solutions now available, it is often a one-day surgery. Recovery time has also been streamlined, and most see improvement soon. Most insurance plans will cover a normal surgery, but it’s always a good idea for you to check in advance of any medical procedure.
If you’d like more information on cataracts, prevention and treatments, including some good images of how it affects your vision or how the surgery works, look into these websites: