Many people aren't aware that cataracts are the primary culprit for sight loss amongst adults over the age of 54. In fact, more than half of the people over sixty-five have some degree of cataracts.
What are cataracts?
A cataract is when the lens, the part of the eye that focuses light to create images, becomes clouded. This prohibits the transmission of light that is essential for proper eyesight.
Symptoms of cataracts
Cataracts are often mistaken as typical age-related vision decline, yet there are certain symptoms that set them apart. Depending on the type of cataract, you may experience slightly hazy 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 show signs of what is known as second sight'' or a temporary improvement in near vision.
Cataract originates from cataracta which means ''waterfall'' in Latin. This may be because the appearance of opaque clouds in the eye is similar to the cloudy rush of water which also appears white. Senile cataracts, which occur in the elderly usually are characterized by an initial opacity in the lens, followed by swelling and shrinkage of the lens leading to a total opacity and blindness.
Preventing and Treating Cataracts
Researchers have not yet determined fail-safe ways to avoid cataracts but some say that guarding your eyes from UV rays with sunglasses can reduce cataract development. Some research indicates that taking antioxidants and limited salt consumption may also play a role in prevention.
During the early stages, eyeglasses can help correct loss of sight, nevertheless, eventually vision will likely be impaired enough to necessitate surgery. Surgery for cataracts is in fact the most common surgery in the United States and is usually very successful. In the standard surgery, the surgeon removes the opaque lens and implants an intraocular lens (IOL) made of plastic. In nine out of 10 patients, they are able to restore vision to between 20/20 and 20/40.
To ensure early diagnosis and treatment you should schedule a yearly eye exam to detect symptoms of vision diseases such as cataracts. Call our West Winfield, NY eye practice today to schedule your appointment.