Healthy Aging Month
Aging...It happens to everyone. Sometimes getting older can be amazing! Learning to drive, graduating school, finding a career, starting a family, traveling, and so on! But, sometimes aging brings on some more difficult changes. Things like cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and even dry eye. All of that together can sound really overwhelming, but we are here to help you with any and all questions! This time around we are going to focus on cataracts.
What are they? Why do they happen? How can we treat them? All important and very common questions.
What are cataracts?
Cataracts are a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye. Most cataracts develop slowly and don’t disturb your eyesight early on. But with time, cataracts will eventually interfere with your vision.
The main symptom of cataracts is blurred vision. Many people describe it as looking through a cloudy window. Often times the change in the lens happens so slowly, you may not even notice the change in clarity or color vision until the cataract is removed! Occasionally, people may have other symptoms such as double vision, increased light sensitivity, and trouble seeing well at night. Because a cataract clouds the lens in your eye, it scatters light more and causes increased glare.
Aging is the most common cause of cataracts. Usually around the age of 40 the normal proteins in the lens start to break down causing the lens to cloud over. Even though our proteins start to break down, people don’t usually see a difference till closer to 60 or even later.
Other causes include:
Certain medical issues such as diabetes
Having an eye injury, surgery, or radiation treatments
Certain medications such as corticosteroids.
Prevention and Treatment:
Protect your eyes against sunlight (using quality sunglasses that are polarized)
Having a clear, UV blocking coating on your everyday glasses
Eat a healthy diet and exercise
Get annual eye exams so your doctor can detect and monitor the development of cataracts in your eyes
When cataracts have developed, you can have surgery to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a new clear lens. This surgery is very common and you should not be concerned if you need it!
So, even though aging can bring on new obstacles in life, cataracts aren’t one to be too concerned about! If and when they happen, there are very common and low risk ways to take care of them with your doctor. If you’re worried about them developing, call us and we can formulate a plan to help manage the effect on your vision. And you can go back to the fun parts of aging!