By age 65, more than 90% of people in the United States will develop cataracts. Cataracts cause cloudiness in the lens of your eye from natural proteins that build up over time. In the USA, over 2 million cataract surgeries are performed each year.
Both men and women develop cataracts but studies suggest they are more common in women. Factors that increase the risk of developing cataracts:
- Increased age
- High blood pressure
- Excessive exposure to sunlight
- Previous eye surgery or injury
Can You Avoid Developing Cataracts?
There are things you can do to help avoid developing cataracts. Eliminating risk factors can help. Quit smoking, don't drink alcohol, lose weight, manage blood pressure, eat a healthy diet including nutrient-dense foods, wear a good pair of sunglasses to block UV rays, and wear a hat with a brim to protect your eyes from the sun. Regular eye exams can also help catch cataracts early so that you can discuss treatment options with your doctor.
How Do You Know If You Have Cataracts?
Cataracts may cause cloudy vision or glare, difficulty seeing at night, halos around lights, double vision in one eye, fading of colors, and frequent changes to your glass’s prescription. If you experience these symptoms, it is important to see an optometrist or ophthalmologist for an exam. Your doctor can diagnose cataracts with a comprehensive eye exam.
If you are diagnosed with cataracts there are a variety of treatment options available including lifestyle modifications as well as surgery. Cataract surgery is a common procedure and usually has a high success rate with minimal recovery time needed. It is important that you discuss all the risks and benefits of any treatment option with your doctor prior to making any decisions.
The type of surgery depends on the size and location of the cataract as well as other factors like age, medical history, and lifestyle. Speak with an ophthalmologist or eye care specialist to learn more about cataract surgery and what is best for you. With careful attention and management, you can reduce your risk of developing cataracts or slow their progression if they have already begun to form.
Don't Be Afraid to Have Cataract Surgery!
There have been many people who are afraid to have cataract surgery and eventually lose their vision but once they had the surgery they can see great again. Cataract surgery is a safe and effective way to restore vision. The decision to have cataract surgery should be made with your doctor, but don't let fear hold you back from living life to the fullest.
Cataracts can be a scary thing, but by taking steps to reduce risk factors and understanding the facts, you can help avoid developing cataracts or treat them if they do occur. Talk with your doctor about cataracts and make an informed decision on how best to protect your sight.