June marks Cataract Awareness Month, a time that brings into focus the condition that may be doing just the opposite to your vision. Cataracts are among the leading causes of blindness worldwide, and are a common affliction of patients over the age of 60. In fact, most Americans will suffer from cataracts by the time they hit 80.
Understanding how cataracts develop and who they are most likely to affect is crucial to protecting eyesight with age. Unfortunately, many patients are unaware of the factors that may put them at an increased risk and may not take preventative measures as early as they should. Here are some common risk factors, symptoms, and treatment options for cataracts:
Age is the leading factor in the development of cataracts. While the condition can affect younger individuals as well, the vast majority of patients will be over the age of 50. In addition, there are several medical conditions as well as environmental and lifestyle factors which can also contribute. Those who have a family history of cataracts, for instance, may be more likely to develop them themselves. Others who may be at particularly high risk include those with diabetes and tobacco and alcohol users. For anyone who fits within these categories, regular eye exams are critical to early identification and treatment of any problems.
Cataracts develop gradually, and patients often do not seek medical attention until they have become quite problematic. At this point, significant damage to vision has already been done. Identifying the early signs of cataracts can help cue patients in to their developing condition much earlier. As symptoms appear, they may include cloudy vision, glares, and halos, but the best bet to identifying cataracts early is through an eye examination.
Many cataract sufferers reach a point when surgical intervention is needed in order to maintain eyesight. During the surgery, the affected lens is replaced with a new lens implant. These implants are available in a variety of types and are selected based on the best fit for the patient’s needs. Cataract surgery may also be performed traditionally with a blade or with a laser. Both of these options are proven to have an incredibly high success rate and low incidence of complication.
Cataracts stealthily steal away vision, slowly developing and deteriorating eyesight before patients realize there’s a problem. Be proactive in your eye health, and visit one of Lane's trusted physician partners for a comprehensive eye exam and ongoing care.
Williamson Allemond Regional Eye Center
2421 Church Street
Zachary, LA 70791
Louisiana Center for Eyes
7855 Howell Blvd., Suite 130-A
Baton Rouge, LA 70807