June is Cataract Awareness Month, and we join the American Academy of Ophthalmology by encouraging Americans to know their risks – especially people who have diabetes, who smoke, or have a family history of cataracts.
Will I Get Cataracts When I Get Older?
Cataracts are a natural part of the aging process, and almost everyone will develop cataracts at some point. As more Americans live into their 70s and beyond, it’s worth repeating a few cataract basics: risks and symptoms, tips that may delay onset, plus how to decide when it’s time for surgery to restore good vision.
A few simple tips will help you maintain healthy vision and make the right choices if you develop a cataract.
Get a baseline exam if you’re over 40. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease get a baseline screening exam at age 40—the time when early signs of disease and vision changes may start to occur. During this visit your eye doctor will advise you on how often to return for follow-up exams.
What Are the Risk Factors Associated With Cataracts?
- Older age
- Hereditary influences
- Certain diseases, such as diabetes
- Long-term exposure to UV rays from the sun can cause serious eye injury or inflammation
- Prolonged use of steroids, especially combined use of oral and inhaled steroids
- Events before birth, such as German measles in the mother
- Previous eye inflammation or surgeries
What Steps Can You Take to Reduce Your Risk of Getting Cataracts?
Reduce your risk of cataracts. Use UV-rated sunglasses when outdoors, and add a wide-brimmed hat when spending long hours in the mid-day sun. Did you know that one of the best things anyone can do for their eyes and overall health is to quit smoking – or never start? In addition, people with diabetes can reduce cataract risk by carefully controlling their blood sugar through diet, exercise and medications if needed.
What Are the Symptoms of Cataracts?
- Dim, cloudy, or blurry vision
- Faded or yellowed colors
- Reduced night vision
- Light sensitivity and increased glare
- Halo effect around lights
- More frequent glasses prescription changes
- Double vision in a single eye
Be informed about when it’s time to consider cataract surgery. This decision is really up to each individual person based on their lifestyle and visual needs. Waiting for a cataract to become “ripe” is no longer the norm. The time for surgery is when the cataracts are having a negative impact on your lifestyle. The fact is that some people are bothered by the symptoms of cataracts sooner than others. After age 65, an annual eye exam is recommended.
What Are My Surgical Options for Removing Cataracts?
Make sure you know your cataract surgical options. During cataract surgery, the cataract (the natural lens which is now cloudy) will be replaced with a clear lens implant (IOL). Talk with your eye doctor about IOL options and related use of eyeglasses, so together you can select the best IOL for you. Yes, it’s possible to reduce your dependence on glasses!
At Eye Care of Delaware we offer several advanced technology IOLs that can correct astigmatism and even give you more independence from reading glasses. Call (302) 454-8800 or request an appointment online.