June is Cataract Awareness Month
A cataract occurs when the normally clear lens of your eye becomes clouded. Vision for those with cataracts is similar to looking through a foggy window. This vision change can be difficult. It decreases one’s ability to drive, read, and see the expressions on someone’s face. Most cataracts develop slowly and don’t disturb your eyesight early on. But with time, cataracts will eventually interfere with your vision.
When symptoms first occur, glasses and good lighting may help. Overtime, cataract surgery may become necessary. This surgery is generally safe and effective.
How does a cataract form?
The lens, where cataracts form, is behind the iris (colored part of the eye). The lens helps to focus light and produces clear images. Over time, or due to medical conditions, the lens breaks down and becomes clouded, thicker, less transparent, and flexible as you age. As the cataract grows, the cloud thickens and covers more of the eye. As light passes through the lens, the cataract blocks light and causes it to scatter, thus, blurring the image.
Cataracts do not develop evenly although they are usually in both eyes causing different vision abilities in each eye.
What are the causes of cataracts?
Causes of cataracts include injury, aging, or inherited genetic disorders. Other causes include past eye surgery, diabetes, other eye conditions, or long-term usage of steroid medications.
What are the symptoms of cataracts?
Cataracts are a common although unfortunate part of aging. Over time, you may notice the following symptoms:
Cloudy, foggy, filmy, or blurry vision.
Sensitivity to lamps, headlights, or bright sunlight.
Glare (a halo around lights), especially when driving at night.
Prescription changes in glasses which include sudden nearsightedness.
Difficulty reading in lighting that used to be fine.
Poor night vision.
Seeing colors differently than before.
When should I see a doctor?
Changes in visions indicate that you may need to schedule an eye exam. See your doctor immediately if you experience sudden headaches, double vision or flashes of light, or sudden eye pain.
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