Cataract Awareness Month
The month of June is not only a time to celebrate the beginning of summer but a time to also celebrate Cataract Awareness Month. As a way to bring awareness and inform people about cataracts, Prevent Blindness America designated June as Cataract Awareness Month.
Known as the leading cause of blindness in the world, cataracts is expected to affect more than 30 million people by the year 2020. The good news is that there’s a cure for cataracts.
What is Cataracts?
When the eye doctor makes a cataracts diagnosis, he is referring to 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 is most common among people who are diabetic and take high doses of steroid medication.
- Nuclear Cataract – This type of cataracts occurs naturally with aging and takes place deep in the 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 work 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.
The symptoms of cataracts and the rate at which you experience these symptoms will depend on the type of cataracts you have.
In most cases, cataracts start out small and have little to no effect on your vision. You may notice that 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. Also, if you’re driving at night, headlights may cause more glare than before.
What Causes Cataracts?
The eyes lens works like a camera’s lens, where it focuses light onto the retina for clear vision and adjusts the eyes focus, which allows us to see things clearly up close and far away. The lens in your eyes is mostly made up of water and protein, which are arranged in a specific way in order to keep the lens clear and let light pass through it.
As you age, these proteins tend to clump and start to cloud small areas of your lens, resulting in cataracts. Over time, cataracts may grow bigger, clouding more of the lens and making it harder to see.
The development of cataracts can be attributed to things such as:
- Family history
- High Myopia
- Significant alcohol consumption
- Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Previous eye surgery
- Previous eye injury or inflammation
- Medicines used to reduce cholesterol
- Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications
- UV radiation from sunlight and other sources.
In the early stages of cataracts, glasses can 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 U.S. It is estimated that 90% of people who undergo cataract surgery regain good vision.
If you can’t remember the last time you had an eye exam, it’s time to schedule your eye exam at a My Eyelab location near you!