Many individuals don't know that cataracts affect approximately 20.5 million Americans age 40 and older. In truth, more than half of adults above age sixty-five have some degree of cataract development.
What are cataracts?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens. This inhibits the passage of light that is essential for proper vision.
Signs of cataracts
Cataracts can often be mistaken as normal age-related vision decline, yet there are certain signs that set them apart. Depending on the type of cataract, you may experience blurry vision, sensitivity to sun light or artificial light or a noticeable dullness of colors. Some cataracts show no signs until they are more advanced while others may even show signs of what is known as second sight'' or a temporary improvement in near vision.
There are three types of cataracts which are differentiated by the location within the lens. A subcapsular cataract is found at the back of the lens. Subcapsular cataracts are especially common in individuals that have diabetes, high farsightedness or retinitis pigmentosa or are taking large amounts of steroid medications.A cataract found in the nucleus or center of the lens is called a nuclear cataract and is generally associated with growing older. The third type of cataract, a cortical cataract typically is located in the lens cortex, the area that surrounds the nucleus. Cortical cataracts are characterized by white opacities that start in the outer areas of the lens and gradually spread toward the center.
Cataract Prevention and Treatment
Researchers have not found guaranteed ways to avoid cataracts but some say that protecting your eyes from UV rays by wearing sunglasses can reduce cataract development. Some studies indicate that antioxidants and limiting consumption of salt can also play a role in prevention.
In the early stages, visual aids can help correct loss of sight, nevertheless, eventually eyesight may be impaired to a level to require surgery. Cataract surgery is actually the most common surgery in America and is generally a success. In most cases, the surgeon takes out the opaque lens and replaces it with a clear plastic lens called an IOL (intraocular lens). For 90% of patients, vision is restored to between 20/20 and 20/40.
If you are 40 or over you should book an annual eye exam to detect signs of eye diseases such as cataracts. Call our New York, NY eye practice today to book your exam.