A surprising number of individuals aren't aware that cataracts are the primary culprit for blindness in those 55 and over. In reality, over half of senior citizens have some amount of cataracts.
What are cataracts?
Cataracts occur when the lens becomes clouded. The clouding inhibits the transmission of light that is essential for eyesight.
How do I know I have cataracts?
Many people over 40 associate vision loss with getting older but cataracts do show some signs that are different from regular age-related eyesight loss. Depending on the type of cataract, you may experience blurry vision, increased glare from sun light or artificial light or a noticeable dullness of colors. Some types of cataracts are completely asymptomatic until they are well developed while others may even result in what is known as second sight'' or a temporary improvement in near vision.
Types of Cataracts
There are three main types of cataracts which are distinguished by the position within the lens. A cataract located at the back of the lens is called a subcapsular cataract. Subcapsular cataracts are particularly common in individuals with diabetes, extreme cases of farsightedness or retinitis pigmentosa or are taking large amounts of steroid medications. A nuclear cataract is a cataract found at the nucleus or center of the lens and is generally a result of growing older. The third type of cataract, a cortical cataract generally starts in the lens cortex, the area surrounding the nucleus. Cortical cataracts often start off with cloudy blotches that start in the outer areas of the lens and gradually spread toward the central area.
Cataract Prevention and Treatment
Researchers have not yet found guaranteed ways to prevent cataracts but some say that reducing UV exposure your eyes from UV rays by wearing sunglasses can reduce cataract development. Some research shows that taking antioxidants and reduced salt consumption can also be preventative.
In the early stages, visual aids can help treat vision loss, nevertheless, at some point vision may be impaired to a level to require surgical treatment. Cataract surgery is in fact the most frequently performed surgery in America and is usually very successful. In the standard surgery, the doctor removes the lens and replaces it with a clear plastic lens called an IOL (intraocular lens). For 9 out of 10 patients, they are able to restore vision to between 20/20 and 20/40.
Don't let eye diseases go undiagnosed. A yearly eye exam is advised for every adult, particularly those over 40. Contact our Kenosha, WI eye practice today to book your exam.