June is Cataract Awareness Month

Jun 16, 2022 | General

Did you know that cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world? The good news, though, is that cataracts are manageable and very treatable. June has been declared Cataract Awareness Month by Prevent Blindness to educate the public on symptoms, types of cataracts, cataract surgery, and more. In honor of Cataract Awareness Month, we will share some quick facts about cataracts and what treatment options are available for this condition.

What is a cataract?

A cataract is when the lens in the eye becomes cloudy due to proteins in the lens breaking down and preventing the passage of light into the eye, which results in blurry or dimmed vision. The lens helps focus an image onto the retina, which transmits images to the brain. The most common reason cataracts develop is aging, and they can occur in one or both eyes. 

What are the risk factors for cataracts?

Most people will develop cataracts as part of the aging process. Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in people over 55, and over half of people over 65 have some degree of cataract development.

Other risk factors for developing cataracts include a family history of cataracts, having diabetes, smoking, having sustained an eye injury or undergone radiation treatments on the upper body, spending a lot of time in the sun without wearing quality sunglasses to protect the eyes from UV rays, and long-term use of steroids and certain medications.

What are the symptoms of cataracts?

Most age-related cataracts develop very slowly, and there may be no obvious symptoms in the early stages. As they progress and grow larger, they will cause vision changes such as:

  • Blurry, clouded vision
  • Colors seeming faded
  • Reduced night vision, especially when driving
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Seeing double
  • Needing frequent changes in eyeglass prescription to see clearly

Sometimes, cataracts develop in younger people or people who have diabetes. When this happens, they can progress much faster.

How do you treat cataracts?

During the early stages of cataract development, simply adjusting the eyeglass prescription and using better lighting can help. If you have been diagnosed with cataracts, it’s important to protect your eyes by wearing quality sunglasses when outside and limiting driving at night if the glare from headlights and streetlights bothers you. We also recommend scheduling regular comprehensive eye exams in Pembroke Pines so we can closely monitor the progression of your cataracts.

Once the cataracts progress to a certain point, we will recommend cataract surgery. Cataracts can only be removed through surgery. Fortunately, cataract surgery is a safe, effective procedure that is very common in the United States. During the surgery, the clouded lens is removed and replaced with a clear, artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL). If you have questions about cataract surgery, the doctors at The Eye Center in Pembroke Pines can address your concerns when you come in for a comprehensive eye exam. If needed, we will refer you to an expert surgeon and co-manage your post-operative care.

It is important for everyone to have regular eye exams, but as you age, you need to have a dilated eye exam at least once every year. The doctors at The Eye Center have the expertise and use the latest technology to diagnose and monitor the progression of cataracts. If you suspect you have cataracts or another eye condition, schedule an appointment with us today!