Do cataracts run in your family? Or perhaps you simply value your eyesight and wish to protect it for as long as possible. If so, you’ll enjoy today’s post by guest blogger, Hayley Irvin.
Though many people first experience cataracts with their aging pets, cataracts are also quite common among humans as well. In fact, they are the most common cause of blindness in the United States, affecting more than half of all Americans over the age of 80. If untreated, cataracts can lead to vision loss and eventually blindness, so prevention and early detection are of vital importance. Read on to learn more about cataracts so you will be able to recognize the signs and symptoms if or when you start developing them.
Cataracts are a result of the clouding over of the eye’s natural lens. As we age, proteins clump together and begin to build up on the lenses of our eyes. As more build-up occurs, our lenses are less able to filter light to the retinas at the back of our eyes. The light becomes distorted, leading to varying degrees of vision loss including blurriness, double vision, glares, etc. Without treatment, proteins will continue to build up on the lens and may eventually lead to complete vision loss.
Though cataracts are usually a result of the aging process, other factors can also lead to their development. Behaviors like smoking and drinking may also contribute to the development of cataracts, as will certain types of steroids. Cataracts can also develop secondary to another medical condition, such as diabetes, eye injuries, and other laser eye surgeries. Congenital cataracts form as a result of genetic factors, and exposure to radiation also speeds up the development of cataracts.
However, there are steps you can take to help prevent cataracts. For starters, always wear sunglasses when outdoors. Remember to get a pair that suits your face and protects your eyes from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. For extra protection, wear a hat with a wide brim or bill. Poor diet can also contribute to the development of cataracts, so doctors suggest eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables filled with antioxidants, Vitamins C & A, and the pigments lutein and zeaxanthin. Leafy greens such as spinach and kale and brightly-colored fruits like kiwi and oranges are full of these nutrients so try to work them into your daily diet as much as possible.
Symptoms of cataracts include:
- Blurry or cloudy vision
- Yellow or brown tint to vision
- Colors seemed dimmed or faded
- Double vision
- Halos appearing around bright objects
- Poor vision at night
- Frequent changes in prescription strength
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, see your eye doctor as soon as possible. Early detection is key to slowing the development of cataracts, so if you are at risk, remember to have your vision checked at least twice a year. There are many methods available to optometrists to check your eyes for cataracts, including visual acuity tests, dilated eye exams, and tonometry.
Fortunately, there are many safe and reliable treatment options for people with cataracts. For those with minor cataracts, a new prescription or a pair of anti-glare eyeglasses may suffice. However, for people with more advanced cataracts, surgery may be the best option. HD cataract surgery is a safe and cutting-edge procedure that involves the use of a femtosecond laser to emulsify the cataract and replace the cloudy lens with a new multifocal intraocular lens implant.
Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most commonly performed elective procedures. Indeed, it is estimated that more than 3 million Americans choose to undergo cataract surgery every year. Although complications from cataract surgery do occur, they are rare. Additionally, nine out of every ten patients experience significant vision improvement. If you experience distorted/wavy vision or bloodshot eyes after cataract surgery, speak with your surgeon about it at your follow-up appointment. All in all, healing from cataract surgery usually takes about eight weeks.
Sight is one of our most precious senses, yet people often put off going to the eye doctor for far too long. If you are experiencing vision loss due to cataracts, make an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible to start discussing treatment options. With the help of micro technology and HD laser surgery, you can have incredible vision for many years to come!
About the Author
Hayley Irvin is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. When she’s not creating awesome content for Marketing Zen & EyeCare 20/20, she’s writing about basketball, learning about space, and thwarting her cats’ plans to take over the world. Catch up with her on Twitter @HayleyNIrvin.
Have you had cataracts? And the surgery? Please share your experience in the comments below!