Cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness in the world. Around 25 million Americans aged 40 years old and above have cataracts. Today, Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care, your trusted provider of laser eye surgery and other eye care services, explains everything you need to know about cataracts as we observe Cataracts Awareness Month this June.
What Causes Cataracts?
Your lens is made up of protein and water. Similar to a camera lens, it adjusts your eyes’ focus when you’re looking at objects of varying distances and directs the light toward your retina. As you age, the rate of protein breakdown in your body accelerates, causing protein clumps–i.e., cataracts–to form on your lenses. Cataracts block light from entering your eyes, resulting in cloudy vision.
Cataracts typically affect older adults, although some forms of cataracts can affect anyone at any age. Your optometrist explains that congenital cataracts are present at birth, while secondary cataracts generally occur as a complication of surgery, other health problems or steroid use. Traumatic cataracts often develop after an injury, while radiation cataracts may appear after chronic exposure to radiation.
How Do Cataracts Affect Your Vision?
Having cloudy or hazy vision, similar to seeing through a dusty windshield, is the hallmark symptom of cataracts. You may also notice that colors seem faded, you have poor night vision or you’re more sensitive to glare. Experiencing double vision or seeing multiple images in one eye may happen as the cataracts get bigger. Needing to have your corrective eyewear prescription changed frequently is another common side effect of cataracts.
How Are Cataracts Treated?
During the early stages of cataract formation, wearing new and stronger prescription eyeglasses can help improve your vision. Using magnifying lenses, anti-glare glasses or brighter lighting may also help. Your eye specialist may recommend removing the cataracts surgically if they are causing significant vision restrictions that interferes with your daily activities. The procedure involves replacing your cloudy lens with an artificial one.
For more information about cataracts, give us a call at (301) 859-4060. You may also complete our form to request an appointment. We serve Alexandria, VA, as well as Potomac and Rockville, MD.