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Many adults don't know that cataracts are the primary cause of blindness amongst adults over 54. In truth, more than half of senior citizens have some amount of cataract development.
What is a cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens. The clouding prevents the transmission of light needed for proper eyesight.
How do I know I have cataracts?
Cataracts can often be brushed off as normal age-related sight decline, however there are some signs to look for that set them apart. Depending on the type of cataract, you may experience blurry vision, sensitivity to 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.
Cataract comes from cataracta which means ''waterfall'' in Latin. This may be because the appearance of opaque clouds in the eye resembles the cloudy rush of water which also appears white. Senile cataracts, which occur in the elderly typically are characterized by an initial opacity in the lens, followed by swelling and shrinkage of the lens leading to a total opacity and loss of sight.
Cataract Prevention and Treatment
There is not yet a guaranteed answer to avoid the development of cataracts but some say that guarding your eyes from UV rays with sunglasses can reduce cataract development. Some studies suggest that antioxidants and limited consumption of salt may also be preventative.
In the early stages, vision correction can be used to treat loss of sight, nevertheless, at some point vision may deteriorate enough to require surgical treatment. Surgery for cataracts is actually the most frequently performed surgery in the US and is typically quite successful. In the standard surgery, the doctor takes out the clouded lens and implants what is called an intraocular lens (IOL) made of plastic. For 90% of patients, they are able to restore vision to between 20/20 and 20/40.
To ensure early diagnosis and treatment it is important to book a yearly eye exam to check for signs of eye diseases such as cataracts. Contact our Plymouth, MI optometry practice today to book an exam.