Cataracts occur when the crystalline lens within the eye turns cloudy yellow or brown. Since light can no longer pass through the lens, the result is some loss of vision.
More than half of all Americans over the age of 65 have cataracts in their eyes. Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly what causes cataracts and there is no proven method of preventing them.
Because they are so common in older adults, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that people ages 40- 64 should have a comprehensive eye examination every two to four years. People 65 and older should be examined every two years to check for cataracts.
What Causes Cataracts?
There are several types of cataracts, including:
- Age-related cataracts that develop as a person matures
- Babies are sometimes born with congenital cataracts as a result of an infection they had before they were born, or they may develop during childhood.
- Secondary Cataracts may be caused to develop by diseases like diabetes, or long-term exposure to toxic substances, certain medications (like steroids), ultraviolet light, and radiation
- Traumatic cataracts can be caused by injury to the eye
What Are The Symptoms Of Cataracts?
Cataracts often form slowly and cause few symptoms. Symptoms can include:
- Cloudy, blurry, foggy, or filmy vision
- Increasing nearsightedness
- Changes in the way you see color, especially yellow
- Problems driving at night because oncoming headlights are distracting
- Problems with glare
- Double Vision
- Difficulty seeing the TV or doing close handwork such as sewing or small repair work
How Are Cataracts Treated?
If an eye exam reveals that you have a cataract, through follow-up tests are needed to determine how it may have affected your vision. If you suffer from vision loss that impairs you daily life, you may be a candidate for cataract surgery. If the loss is acceptable, eyeglasses, including bifocals and contacts, may be prescribed, eliminating the need for surgery at that time.