A surprising number of aren't aware that cataracts are the number one culprit for blindness among adults 55 and over. In truth, more than half of senior citizens have some amount of cataracts.
What are cataracts?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye's natural lens. This inhibits the passage of light necessary for eyesight.
Signs of cataracts
Many adults attribute loss of sight with age but cataracts do present certain symptoms that are different from regular age-related vision loss. Depending on the type of cataract, symptoms include slightly blurry vision, sensitivity to light or a decrease in the brightness of color. Some types of cataracts are completely asymptomatic until they are more advanced while others may even show signs of a temporary improvement in near vision known as ''second sight''.
Cataract derives from cataracta which means ''waterfall'' in Latin. This may be because the appearance of white opacities in the lens resembles the white cloudy rapids seen in a waterfall. Senile cataracts, which occur in the elderly typically appear as an initial opacity in the lens, followed by swelling and shrinkage of the lens resulting in eventual blindness.
Preventing and Treating Cataracts
Researchers have not found surefire ways to avoid the development of cataracts but some say that reducing ultraviolet exposure your eyes from UV rays with sunglasses can reduce cataract development. Some research shows that taking antioxidants and reducing salt intake can also prevent development.
Although early vision loss can be helped using corrective devices such as eyeglasses or magnifying devices, at some point eyesight will likely deteriorate to a level to necessitate surgery. Cataract surgery is actually the most frequently performed surgery in the US and is generally a success. In the standard surgery, the doctor takes out the lens and replaces it with an intraocular lens (IOL) made of plastic. In 90% of patients, vision is restored to between 20/20 and 20/40.
Don't let eye diseases go untreated. A yearly eye exam is advised for every adult, particularly those over 40. Contact our Canton, OH optometry practice today to book your appointment.