Understanding Cataracts And Protecting Your Eyes
Cataracts typically form naturally with age, however, it usually occurs in both eyes. Recent tests show that cataract surgeries will double in the next 20 years as the population ages. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 65.2 million people worldwide will live with some form of cataracts which will be the leading cause of blindness and vision impairment worldwide. June 2023 is Cataracts Awareness Month. Cataracts affect approximately 12.6 million people and are responsible for thirty-three percent of worldwide blindness. It occurs when the lens in your eye becomes cloudy from natural proteins that build up over time. As the condition progresses, the clouded lens allows less light to pass through your eyes resulting in blurry vision. Cataracts can progressively occur due to the natural aging process. It can develop rapidly due to exposure to UV light, smoking, diabetes, eye injury, or the use of certain steroid medications.
The National Eye Institute projects that by the age of 80 more than half of all Americans will either have a cataract or surgery to remove one. As cataract develops over time the clouding becomes denser. Cataracts scatter and block light as it passes through the lens, therefore, preventing a sharply defined image from reaching your retina and resulting in blurry vision. Cataract is a medical condition, therefore, it results in increasingly cloudy eyes. It affects more than 20 million people worldwide. It is a vision loss due to the cloudiness of the lens in the eye that prevents light from focusing clearly.
The direct medical cost for cataracts is approximately $6.8 billion. Most Americans will have some form around the age of 80. Most importantly, one should note that cataracts in one eye may be more severe than in the other. At age 60, many people will have some form of clouding in their eyes. It is important to treat properly with surgery, and If not cataracts can cause severe vision loss or blindness. People with non-severe cataract symptoms can improve their vision with prescription eyeglasses to improve their eyesight. Severe cataracts will require surgery.
Cataract Advanced Technology And Treatments
- FLACS or Femto laser-assisted cataract surgery is an innovation in the cataract surgery process that is bladeless. This process is significantly automated and reduces the complicated steps of cataract surgery. There is a quicker recovery and better visual outcome, and it is now safer and more accurate.
- Laser-assisted cataract surgery is one of the latest and most advanced methods of performing cataract surgery. Many ophthalmologists prefer this laser cataract surgery over traditional cataract surgery as a pre-treatment for “soften” cataracts
- Cataract lense implant: tBausch + Lomb IC-8™ Apthera™ Intraocular Lens (IOL)
- Optiwave Refractive A alusis (ORA)
- Trifocal lenses allow cataract and Refractive lens exchange patients to correct for immediate and distant vision.
- Cataract Surgery, AI, and machine learning
- Laser-assisted cataract surgery
- Nuclear cataracts affect the center of the lens
- Cortical cataracts affect the edges of the lens
- Posterior subcapsular cataracts affect the back of the lens
- Congenital cataracts you are born with it or develop during childhood.
Cataracts may be genetic or associated with an intrauterine infection or trauma. Cataracts that or genetically related or occurs during childhood may also be due to certain conditions, such as myotonic dystrophy, galactosemia, neurofibromatosis type 2, or rubella. Congenital cataracts don’t always affect vision, but if they do, they’re usually removed soon after detection.
- Blurry Vision: Foggy, filmy, dim, or cloudy
- Difficulty with vision at night, increasing over time
- Light and glare sensitivity
- Need for brighter light for reading and other activities
- “Halos” around lights
- Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
- Yellowing or fading of colors
- A single eye with double vision
How can you tell if you may have cataracts? The pupil, the black dot in the center of the eye is the place where a cataract will form. There shouldn’t be a cloudy or haze. In other words, your eye pupils should be completely black to be cataract free.
Risk factors (Mayo Clinic) that increase the risk of cataracts are:
- Increasing age
- Excessive exposure to sunlight
- High blood pressure
- Previous eye injury or inflammation
- Previous eye surgery
- Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications
- Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
Prevention (Mayo Clinic)
No studies reveal how to prevent cataracts or slow the progression of cataracts. However, doctors think several strategies can be useful:
- Have regular eye examinations
- Quit smoking
- Manage other health problems
- Choose a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Studies haven’t proved that antioxidants in pill form can prevent cataracts. Fruits and vegetables have many proven health benefits and are a safe way to increase the number of minerals and vitamins in your diet
- Wear sunglasses to block out ultraviolet B (UVB) light from the sun
- Reduce alcohol use. Excessive alcohol use can increase the risk of cataracts
Contact us immediately if you are experiencing any of the cataract symptoms described in this article.