June is Cataract Awareness Month. If you’re entering middle age or your senior years, the month is a reminder to become familiar with what cataracts are, your own risks of developing them, the signs and symptoms of cataracts, and what your treatment options are.
Cataracts are extremely common. Approximately half of us will have them by the age of 75. Currently, there are an estimated 25 million people with cataracts just in the United States, according to the Academy of Ophthalmology. Considering cataracts are among the leading treatable causes of blindness in adults, awareness is key.
A cataract is a gradual clouding of the cornea that occurs as we age. As you would assume, that will eventually lead to blurry vision as the condition worsens. However, there are four more cataract symptoms you may not immediately recognize, especially if you have other refractive errors.
1. Colors seem muted
As cataracts advance, color perception can suffer, causing normally vibrant hues to appear duller than before. You may even experience difficulty telling similar colors apart.
2. Light becomes an issue
Light entering a clouded lens can’t focus precisely on the retina. As cataracts block or disburse light, you may notice changes in how your eyes respond to it. For example, you may encounter more halos and starbursts around street lights at night, or you may even become more sensitive to bright lights in general.
3. You are over the age of n40
Cataracts begin forming at around age 40 or so and develop slowly over many years. (Sure, infants and children have been known to have cataracts, but this is extremely rare.) If you’re lucky enough to reach age 75, odds are 50-50 that the condition will have begun affecting your vision.
4. Your pupils appear cloudy to you or others
When cataracts progress to a certain point, they become visible to the naked eye. You or others in your life will recognize them as a graying of the pupils, which appear black in healthy eyes.
People who schedule annual routine eye examinations will likely learn of their cataracts long before they start noticing symptoms. That’s because an ophthalmologist will screen for this and other eye conditions through a thorough and precise eye exam. Sophisticated equipment helps your eye doctor view and map microscopic changes from one eye exam to the next, so you will know if an issue arises before it becomes a real problem.
Cataracts are easily treated.
Blindness from cataracts is preventable! While you can’t stave off the natural aging process, you can treat cataracts once they form. This is done by surgically removing the cloudy lenses and replacing them with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL).
Cataract patients who also have refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism can treat both simultaneously. The surgeon will simply replace the clouded cornea with a clear implantable contact lens that also corrects the refractive error. This can be done at any point in time, so you don’t have to wait for cataracts to fully form to address this issue.
If you are experiencing one or more of these cataract symptoms, schedule an eye examination right away. Your eye doctor will help you get back to your best vision possible.
ABOUT EYE SPECIALTY GROUP
Eye Specialty Group offers patients a wide range of vision services, from specialized glaucoma treatment, laser cataract surgery and retina surgery to LASIK and eye reconstructive surgery. Vision correction procedures include Blade-Free iLASIK, PRK, Implantable Contact Lenses, Clear Lens Exchange and Blade-Free Laser Cataract surgery with Lifestyle IOLs. Our dedicated and caring professionals are here to provide the best possible care for you and your family. Contact us at (901) 685-2200 or visit us online at EyeSpecialtyGroup.com.