Cataract awareness is important, so important that Prevent Blindness America has declared June as Cataract Awareness Month. Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States, and it is the leading cause of blindness in the world. There are 24 million Americans over the age of 40 who are affected by cataracts, so it seems fitting that an entire month should be dedicated to education and awareness.
What is a Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens, which blocks or changes the passage of light into the eye. The lens of the eye is located behind the pupil and the colored iris, and is normally transparent. The lens helps to focus images onto the retina – which transmits the images to the brain.
Your vision may become blurry or dim because the cataract stops light from properly passing through to your retina.
The exact cause of a cataract is unknown. Most often, a cataract is part of getting older. As you age, you are at greater risk of developing a cataract. There are also several possible risk factors for cataracts, such as:
- Intense heat or long-term exposure to UV rays from the sun
- Certain diseases, such as diabetes
- Inflammation in the eye
- Hereditary influences
- Events before birth, such as German measles in the mother
- Long-term steroid use
- Eye injuries
- Eye diseases
Cataracts can form in both eyes, but often not at the same time. Cataract surgery is actually one of the most commonly performed procedures in the country and has a 95% success rate. According to Prevent Blindness, more than two million cataract surgeries are performed every year in the United States. These surgeries have successfully restored vision to many, many people.
Doctors usually won’t remove cataracts from both eyes at the same time. Separate procedures will be scheduled for each eye a few weeks apart. The recovery period includes some mild irritation and sensitivity to light for a short amount of time. Most people can resume normal activities quickly after surgery, seeing an improvement to their vision as soon as the next day!
Can I prevent cataracts?
There is no proven way to prevent age-related cataracts. However, choosing a healthy lifestyle can slow the progression of cataracts. Some ways to delay the progression of cataracts include avoiding smoking, reducing exposure to UV rays, eating healthy foods, and wearing proper eye protection to avoid eye injury.
Even if you are currently not experiencing any problems with your vision, make sure you maintain your annual eye exam appointments, especially if you are age 65 or older.
Call us today at (561) 500-2020 and schedule your eye exam!
Mittleman Eye is the top rated and best eye doctor in Palm Beach County. Our cataract surgeon, Dr. David A. Mittleman, was voted best ophthalmologist in West Palm Beach for 2019.
Cataract Awareness Month!