Image is from 2017 Senior Expo
There are nearly a quarter-million new cases of cataracts every single year in the United States alone. It’s a serious public health issue that tends to afflict older individuals and increase in prevalence with aging.
The majority of cataracts develop very gradually over many years, even multiple decades. The most common sign that you may be dealing with cataracts is blurry vision that persists over time.
Living with cataracts can be difficult since objects can appear quite blurry or out of focus. Cataract surgery that replaces your eye’s blurry lens with a clean, though artificial, lens is one way to deal with cataracts and get on with your life.
Raising Awareness About Cataracts
Because the incidence of cataracts, or blurring of someone’s lens, tends to increase with age, it’s no surprise that older individuals tend to swell the rolls on those undergoing cataract surgery.
In fact, the National Eye Institute found that a full fifty percent of octogenarians have cataracts so severe that surgery was warranted. After surgery many of these patients were able to experience dramatically improved vision and carry out daily activities without any difficulty.
Due to the way that cataracts develop, the onset of cataracts can affect one eye…and perhaps just the one eye. Many patients worry about cataracts spreading to the other eye but ophthalmologists tell us that that’s not possible. We shouldn’t worry about cataracts spreading like that.
Causes of Cataracts
The lens of your eye is the clear piece of your eye that helps to focus a light – and, thus, convey an image – to the retina of your eye. Having a clear lens is essential for having light hit the retina properly and your experiencing clear vision throughout the day.
Your eye works in a way that some people would find counter-intuitive since it works by sending light from your lens to the retina at the back of your eye. Most people think of everything as occurring in the front part of their eye yet the eyes are a more complicated organ than that.
Even the lens itself is positioned behind your eye’s pupil and iris, so the retina is quite far back. The retina is very sensitive to light – so, your lens need to be absolutely clear for your retina to accurately interpret the images in your environment.
It’s important that your lens remain clear because the lens has been implicated in depth perception. The lens adjusts accordingly for objects that are far away and those that are in the immediate environment. This underlines the importance of having a clear lens, and why cataracts can be such an issue for some.
Ophthalmologists think that the structure of the lens can alter slightly over time, and that this alteration might be what’s behind cataracts. Changes in the protein and water composition of your lens are likely behind the cloudiness that many experience with cataracts.
How Cataracts are Removed
Cataract surgery can revitalize your vision if you’re suffering from cataracts. The surgery is considered safe since over 90% of people report better vision after the surgery and, when following the doctor’s orders, the chance of post-surgical infection is quite low.
Most eye doctors will recommend cataract surgery only when an individual is older and having serious problems carrying out basic activities.
When someone can’t see the television or read the text on a page, or if cataracts are adversely affecting another chronic condition like macular degeneration, then cataract surgery might be recommended by your eye doctor.
Conditions like diabetes and lifestyle choices like smoking can increase your chances for cataracts. Regular eye exams are recommended.