June is Cataract Awareness Month
A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye that can impair vision. More than half of all Americans age 65 and older have cataracts which are diagnosed by an eye exam to test how well you can see the lens and other parts of the eye. Cataracts occur when there is a buildup of protein in the lens that makes it cloudy. This prevents light from passing clearly through the lens, causing some loss of vision. Since new lens cells form on the outside of the lens, all the older cells are compacted into the center of the lens resulting in the cataract.
Types of cataracts include:
- Age-related cataracts – As the name suggests, this type of cataract develops as a result of aging.
- Congenital cataracts – Babies are sometimes born with cataracts as a result of an infection, injury, or poor development before they were born, or they may develop during childhood.
- Secondary cataracts – These develop as a result of other medical conditions, like diabetes, or exposure to toxic substances, certain drugs (such as corticosteroids or diuretics), ultraviolet light, or radiation.
- Traumatic cataracts – These form after injury to the eye.
Cataracts usually form slowly and cause few symptoms until they noticeably block light. When symptoms are present, they can include:
- Vision that is cloudy, blurry, foggy, or filmy
- Progressive nearsightedness in older people often called “second sight” because they may no longer need reading glasses.
- Changes in the way you see color because the discolored lens acts as a filter.
- Problems driving at night such as glare from oncoming headlights.
- Problems with glare during the day.
- Double vision (like a superimposed image).
- Sudden changes in glasses prescription.
How Are Cataracts Diagnosed?
An eye exam will be given to test how well you can see the lens and other parts of the eye. For more information click here and ask your doctor or ophthalmologist.