Our eyes are like little cameras with lenses made mostly of water and protein. They keep our vision clear. But as we age, the proteins may clump together and cloud a small area of the lens. This is known as a cataract. If you live long enough, odds are you will get a cataract. That is why Family HealthCare Associates wants to take a moment during “Cataract Awareness Month” to clear up any confusion about this highly treatable eye disease. Cataracts affect twenty-five million Americans over 40 years of age.
Did you know cataracts are a leading cause of blindness? They account for 42% of all cases in the world. At first, a cataract may affect a small part of your lens. You may not notice it, but they tend to grow as you get older, blurring your vision. If you begin to notice trouble watching TV or driving at night, please make an appointment with your ophthalmologist to get tested. It may seem minor, but it is a dangerous disease if not proactively addressed.
Here are five facts to know about this cloudy eye disease.
- Watch Out for Risk Factors. People over forty who smoke, have diabetes, have high blood pressure, or have a family history of cataracts are at risk.
- Wear UV-blocking Sunglasses This Summer. Cataracts can form after intense heat or long-term exposure to UV rays from the sun. You should wear UV-blocking sunglasses (or a shady hat) when outdoors.
- Eat a Balanced Diet Rich in Vitamin C. Consuming a diet of vision-boosting foods may help lower your risk for cataracts.
- Kids Can Also Have Cataracts. Older people usually get cataracts, but kids can as well. either congenitally or developed after birth. Without treatment, cataracts in children can cause permanent vision impairment, so diagnosing it early is critical.
- More Than 70% of People Over Age 75 Have a Cataract. As the population ages in America, the number of cataract cases will skyrocket by 50% to 38.5 million by 2032, and double to fifty million by 2050.
How Does Cataract Surgery Work?
Cataract surgery is one of the safest, most effective types of surgery around. Americans spend $6.8 billion every year on medical costs and prescription drug services for treating cataracts. The good news is it is painless and takes less than 30 minutes to complete. What you can expect: your physician removes your natural lens and replaces it with an artificial intraocular lens (or IOL). It is that simple.
If you have been putting off cataract surgery, please keep the following statement in mind. Family HealthCare Associates encourages all our patients to get regular eye exams. If you have blurry vision, or the surface of your eyes looks cloudy, schedule an eye exam immediately. In addition to improving your vision, cataract surgery can improve your quality of life. It will help you get back to doing the things you love.