Many people aren't aware that cataracts affect over 20.5 million Americans age 40 and older. In fact, over 50% of adults over age 65 have some degree of cataract development.
What are cataracts?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens. The clouding prohibits the transmission of light needed for vision.
Signs of cataracts
Often people over 40 attribute vision loss with getting older but cataracts do present some symptoms that are different from regular age-related eyesight loss. Depending on the type of cataract, you may experience slightly blurred vision, sensitivity to light or a noticeable dullness of colors. Some cataracts are completely asymptomatic until they are more advanced while others may even show signs of a short-lived improvement in near vision called ''second sight''.
Cataract comes from cataracta which means ''waterfall'' in Latin. This may be because the appearance of white opacities in the eye is similar to the white cloudy rapids seen in a waterfall. Cataracts that develop as a result of aging usually appear as an initial opacity in the lens, followed by swelling and shrinkage of the lens leading to eventual blindness.
Cataract Prevention and Treatment
Researchers have not yet determined surefire ways to prevent cataracts but some say that protecting your eyes from UV rays with sunglasses can reduce cataract development. Some research shows that taking antioxidants and reducing salt intake may also play a role in prevention.
In the initial stages, visual aids can help improve vision loss, nevertheless, at some point eyesight may deteriorate enough to require surgical treatment. Cataract surgery is in fact the most common surgery in America and is generally very successful. In most cases, the doctor takes out the lens and implants a clear plastic lens called an IOL (intraocular lens). For nine out of 10 patients, nearly perfect vision is achieved.
Don't let vision diseases go undiagnosed. An annual eye exam is advised for every adult, particularly those over 40. Call our Overland Park, KS optometry practice today to book your exam.