Cataract And Your Vision Health
Cataracts can progressively occur due to the natural aging process. It can develop rapidly due to exposure to UV light, smoking, diabetes, eye injury, or the use of certain steroid medications. The National Eye Institute projects that by the age of 80 more than half of all Americans will either have a cataract or surgery to remove one. Cataract is a medical condition, therefore, it results in increasingly cloudy eyes. It affects more than 20 million people worldwide. It is a vision loss due to the cloudiness of the lens in the eye that prevents light from focusing clearly.
Cataracts typically form naturally with age, however, it usually occurs in both eyes. Most Americans will have some form around the age of 80. Most importantly, one should note that cataracts in one eye may be more severe than in the other. At age 60 many people may have some form of clouding in their eyes. It is important to treat properly with surgery, and If not cataracts can cause severe vision loss or blindness.
Recent tests show that cataract surgeries will double in the next 20 years as the population ages. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 65.2 million people worldwide will live with some form of cataracts which will be the leading cause of blindness and vision impairment worldwide.
New Cataract Treatments
Doctors can successfully remove cataracts with surgery. However, it is expensive and in most developing countries, individuals develop severe cataracts due to lack of treatment and become blind.
- A recent article, Mach 2022, shows that scientists are moving closer to finding a treatment for cataracts w/ithout surgery.
- A new study investigating the use of a chemical compound, oxysterol, to treat cataracts without surgery in mice and showing promising results.
- Eye drops with a new chemical clear up cataracts.
- Recent studies have also shown that eye drops using a new chemical reverse cataract in dogs.
- Nuclear cataracts affect the center of the lens
- Cortical cataracts affect the edges of the lens
- Posterior subcapsular cataracts affect the back of the lens
- Congenital cataracts you are born with it or develop during childhood.
Cataracts may be genetic or associated with an intrauterine infection or trauma. Cataracts that or genetic related or occurs during childhood may also be due to certain conditions, such as myotonic dystrophy, galactosemia, neurofibromatosis type 2, or rubella. Congenital cataracts don’t always affect vision, but if they do, they’re usually removed soon after detection.
- Blurry Vision: Foggy, filmy, dim, or cloudy
- Difficulty with vision at night, increasing over time
- Light and glare sensitivity
- Need for brighter light for reading and other activities
- “Halos” around lights
- Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
- Yellowing or fading of colors
- A single eye with double vision
How can you tell if you may have cataracts? The pupil, the black dot in the center of the eye is the place where a cataract will form. There shouldn’t be a cloudy or haze. In other words, your eye pupils should be completely black to be cataract free.
Risk factors (Mayo Clinic) that increase the risk of cataracts are:
- Increasing age
- Excessive exposure to sunlight
- High blood pressure
- Previous eye injury or inflammation
- Previous eye surgery
- Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications
- Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
Prevention (Mayo Clinic)
No studies reveal how to prevent cataracts or slow the progression of cataracts. However, doctors think several strategies can be useful:
- Have regular eye examinations
- Quit smoking
- Manage other health problems
- Choose a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Studies haven’t proved that antioxidants in pill form can prevent cataracts. Fruits and vegetables have many proven health benefits and are a safe way to increase the number of minerals and vitamins in your diet
- Wear sunglasses to block out ultraviolet B (UVB) light from the sun
- Reduce alcohol use. Excessive alcohol use can increase the risk of cataracts
Contact us immediately if you are experiencing any of the cataract symptoms described in this article.