June: Cataract Awareness Month
June is just a couple days away and along with celebrating the official beginning of summer, we are celebrating Cataract Awareness Month! In an effort to bring awareness and inform people about cataracts, Prevent Blindness America has designated June as Cataract Awareness Month.
According to Prevent Blindness America, cataracts is the leading cause of blindness in the world and it is expected that more than 30 million people will have cataracts by the year 2020. Fortunately, for people who suffer from cataracts, it is something that is curable.
What is Cataracts?
Cataract is the clouding of the eye’s lens that lies behind the iris and the pupil. Cataracts blocks or changes the passage of light into the eye. The 3 types of cataracts are:
- Subcapsular Cataract: This type of cataracts occurs in the back of the lens. This is the most common type of cataracts among people who suffer from diabetes and use high doses of steroid medications.
- Nuclear Cataract: This type of cataracts occurs naturally with aging and takes place in the deep central zone of the lens.
- Cortical Cataract: This type of cataracts is usually known for its white, wedge-like opacities that start in the periphery of the lens and works its way to the center in a spoke-like fashion. This occurs in the lens cortex, which is the part of the lens that surrounds the central nucleus.
Symptoms of Cataracts
Most of the symptoms and rate at which you experience them will depend on the type of cataracts you have.
Cataracts start out small, with little effect on your vision. Things may appear blurry and it may seem as if you’re looking at things through cloudy glass. It may also make sunlight or light from a lamp seem extremely bright or glaring. If you’re driving at night, headlights may cause more glare than before.
Causes of Cataracts
The eyes lens works like a camera lens, where it focuses light onto the retina for clear vision, and adjusts the eyes focus that allows us to see things clearly up close and far away. The lens in the eyes is mostly made up of water and protein, which is arranged in a specific way in order to keep the lens clear and let light pass through it.
As we age, these proteins tend to clump up and start to cloud a small area of the lens, resulting in cataracts. Over time, cataracts may grow bigger, clouding more of the lens and making it harder to see.
Some factors that attribute to the development of cataracts are:
- UV radiation from sunlight and other sources
- Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications
- Medicines used to reduce cholesterol
- Previous eye surgery
- Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Significant alcohol consumption
- High Myopia
- Family history
If cataracts detected in the early stages, glasses can be prescribed to help. As the condition worsens, cataract surgery may be recommended. Cataract surgery is a simple, painless procedure that will help you regain your vision. Cataract surgery has a 95% success rate, and it is the most frequent surgery performed in the US. It is estimated that 9 out of 10 people that undergo cataract surgery regain good vision.
Even though there is no specific way to prevent cataracts, researchers believe that certain nutrients and nutritional supplements could reduce your risk of cataracts.
Schedule your FREE Eye Exam at a Stanton Optical location near you!