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How Do Cataracts Affect Our Vision?

In the US alone, nearly 20.5 million adults over the age of 40 and half of seniors 80 and older have cataracts.

Considering how common this eye condition is, we want all of our patients to know what cataracts are, their symptoms, and that they are treatable.

What Are Cataracts?

A cataract is a cloudy clump of proteins that forms in the lens of the eye and prevents light from reaching your retinas like it normally would. Having cataracts is like having frosted windows installed in the lenses of our eyes. All of the normal eye anatomy is still there and still works, but vision is dimmed or even fully obscured by the cataracts. Cataracts are so common, in fact, that they are the number one cause of blindness worldwide.

Common Symptoms

When cataracts first begin to form, they may only take up a small area of the lenses in the eyes, and vision isn’t noticeably affected. Over time, however, a person with cataracts may begin to experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Clouded, blurred, or dim vision
  • Increasing difficulty with vision at night
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Seeing a halo effect around lights
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
  • Fading or yellowing of the colors you see
  • Double vision in a single eye

Old Age Isn’t The Only Cause

Advanced age is the most common risk factor for cataracts, but more and more people are getting cataracts beginning at age 40, and our susceptibility to developing them may be increased by any of the following factors:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • UV radiation
  • High blood pressure
  • Previous eye injury or inflammation
  • Previous eye surgery
  • Obesity
  • Family history
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Prolonged corticosteroid medication use

The Good News About Cataracts

Stronger glasses or contact lens prescriptions can only help with cataracts up to a point. Luckily, with one short surgery per eye, an eye surgeon can easily remove cataracts and restore the patient’s clear vision! Cataract surgery is so low-risk, simple, and routine that it is actually performed more frequently than any other surgery, at a rate of three million surgeries per year just in the US!

We’re Here To Help

Have you or someone you love been experiencing any of the symptoms of cataracts recently—or, worse, do you know of someone who may have been suffering them in silence for an extended period? If so, schedule an appointment with us so that we can discuss the next steps to get you or your loved one back on the path to healthy, cloud-free eyesight!

We love having you in our practice family!

Top image by Flickr user Sage Ross used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.