Did you know that cataracts are the leading cause for loss of vision in the United States? In 2021, there were over 26 million Americans over the age of forty being affected by cataracts. This is why the entire month of June is dedicated to cataract research, fundraising, and educating about appropriate eye care by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Cataracts are a common part of growing older for many individuals over the age of seventy-five. These occur when the lens of the eye becomes “clouded,” and unable to see through. For those living in the United States, treatment can be done surgically, as Ophthalmologists preform nearly three million cataract surgeries per year. In other countries, some third world however, there is not access to surgery treatment or educational resources available to promote healthy eye care and visits to maintain eyesight.
Can cataracts be prevented?
Many eye specialists say that awareness is the key to preventing cataracts but offer up these tips on helping to keep your eyes healthy and in working order.
- You can work to lower your risk. Wearing UV-blocking sunglasses and brimmed hats whenever outside protects your eyes from the damaging sun rays. Numerous studies have shown that eating whole foods high in vitamin-C can help to delay the progression and development of cataracts.
- Age is not the only risk factor when it comes to cataract development. While most all humans have a risk to develop cataracts as they age, recent studies have proven that lifestyle changes and certain behaviors can hider when, and how severely, your cataracts develop. Certain medical conditions like Diabetes and genetic factors, along with exposure to sunlight, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and genetic factors can all increase your overall risk for developing cataracts. Additionally, eye injuries, prior eye surgeries, and long-term use of steroid-like medications can also result in cataracts.
- Surgery can help to improve more than just your vision. When a cataract surgery is performed, the natural clouded lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens. Surgery for cataracts has been improved over the years, and now takes roughly twenty minutes per eye, most often making this an outpatient procedure. This alone can improve your vision trifold. Patients have different options when it comes to these replacement lenses depending on the benefits they are looking for or need.
If you are concerned that you may have a higher risk factor for developing cataracts, speak with your Ophthalmologist, who can help you understand your risk and check your eye health while you discuss. If you are dealing with a clouded lens, and have not yet seen an eye doctor, please do not wait to make your appointment and work to restoring your eyesight.
See International ( www.seeintl.org )