If you are over the age of 60 and have noticed that your vision has become blurry or cloudy, you may be suffering from cataracts. April is cataract awareness month and we want to talk about what the symptoms are and how you can treat cataracts to bring your world back into focus.
Every year, thousands of Americans will suffer vision loss associated with cataracts. Cataracts form when the protein, part of what helps to make up the lens in your eye, clump together forming what appears to be a cloud over the eye. Fortunately, cataracts are treatable and can be removed allowing you to see clearly again!
At the onset of development, cataracts are small in size and generally have minimal effect on your vision. As they progress you may feel as though you are wearing dirty contacts or glasses, leaving you with the sensation that you are looking through a cloudy piece of glass. During the day, light such as the sun or a lamp may feel very bright or create a glare which you never noticed before. At night you may have increasing difficulty driving because on coming headlights have more glare or a halo look. Colors will be dull and not appear as bright and vivid as they once did. The most surefire way to determine if you are suffering from cataracts is to see your eye doctor for a routine eye exam.
While there is no answer as to why the eye’s lens changes over time as we age, there are a few factors that put you at higher risk of developing cataracts.
- Significant alcohol consumption
- Family history
- Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun
You can help to prevent cataracts by wearing protective sunglasses that block 100% of the sun’s UV rays when you are outdoors. Eat a proper diet that is high in leafy greens and fruits which are high in vitamins and antioxidants. Some examples of food to add to your diet are:
- Leafy vegetables
- Turnip greens
Now to the important part, TREATMENT! Many people feel that losing your vision as you age is inevitable. If you have cataracts however, this is not the case. Cataracts can be removed with surgery. The surgeon will remove the protein that has built up to form the cataract. Surgery may be a word that makes many people cringe. However cataract surgery is relatively simple and painless procedure. Nine out of ten people who undergo cataract surgery will regain vision between 20/20 and 20/40.
Remember that routine eye exams will help to detect cataracts early. This will prevent you from spending years of your life feeling like you are living in a fog, letting you enjoy everything that our beautiful earth has to offer us!
About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Bissell Eye Care and Tri-State Low Vision Services, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.