Three Things You Should Know About Cataracts
- Posted on: Aug 30 2020
Cataracts affect 25 million Americans. Most of them are over the age of 55. Many of them live with cataracts for years before doing anything about them. One reason could be that cataracts can develop slowly enough to not notice vision changes right away. Another could be a lack of awareness about what cataracts are and what to do about them. We’ll discuss that here.
What are Cataracts?
Cataracts sound like something that grows on the eye. In a way, this is accurate. We hear about cataract removal surgery and may assume that the procedure removes the growths that have developed, decreasing vision. This is not accurate. We’ll detail cataract removal momentarily. What the term cataract describes is a natural lens that has become stiff and clouded due to protein accumulation. The proteins are part of the lens, not something that grows on the surface. This is one thing people may not know. Here are a few more.
- Lifestyle is a risk factor for cataracts. Age is the most common factor that contributes to the development of cataracts. However, lifestyle influences how early in life the lens of the eye may begin to change. Recent studies have discovered that the onset and severity of cataracts may also be determined by sun exposure, smoking, obesity, and diabetes. High blood pressure may also increase the risk of cataracts.
- Risks can be managed. It may not be possible to eliminate the risk of getting cataracts because aging is a primary factor causing changes in the eye. However, experts recommend wearing sunglasses outdoors beginning at an early age. On bright days, a hat may also be worn to decrease the amount of ultraviolet light that enters the eyes. A healthy diet that includes vitamin C and antioxidants is beneficial for eye health, as is avoiding smoking.
- Cataract removal surgery improves vision and more. Cataract removal surgery involves the complete replacement of the eye’s natural lens (cataracts don’t always develop in both eyes). The natural lens is replaced with a synthetic, very thin lens that should last indefinitely. Intraocular lenses can be made to accommodate errors that have previously required prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, so patients may no longer need to wear glasses all the time after their surgery. The vision improvement that is achieved with cataract removal also decreases older patients’ risk of falling and other accidents.
Cataract removal surgery is one of the most common ophthalmic procedures performed today. To learn more, contact our Canfield, North Canton, or Alliance office.
Posted in: Cataract