June is cataract awareness month and Cornerstone Optometry would like to share some things about the eye condition and its treatment.
As everyone grows older, the lenses of their eyes thicken and become cloudier. Eventually, they may find it more difficult to read street signs. Colors may seem dull. These symptoms may signal cataracts, which affect about 70 percent of people by age 75. Fortunately, cataracts can be corrected with surgery. The following are facts people should know about the condition.
Age isn’t the only risk factor for cataracts. Though most everyone will develop cataracts with age, recent studies show that lifestyle and behavior can influence when and how severely you develop cataracts. Diabetes, extensive exposure to sunlight, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and certain ethnicities have all been linked to increased risk of cataracts. Eye injuries, prior eye surgery and long-term use of steroid medication can also result in cataracts. If you have any of these risk factors, have an eye exam and talk to your optometrist about it.
Cataracts cannot be prevented, but you can lower your risk. Wearing UV-blocking sunglasses and using wide brimmed hats when outside can help. Also, avoid smoking cigarettes, which have been shown to increase the risk of cataract development. Some studies suggest that eating more vitamin C-rich foods may delay how fast cataracts form.,
Surgery may help improve more than just your vision. During the procedure, the natural clouded lens is replaced with an artificial lens that should improve your vision significantly. Patients have a variety of lenses to choose from, each with different benefits. Studies have shown that cataract surgery can improve quality of life and reduce the risk of falling. If you think that cataracts may be interfering with your ability to see well, have an eye exam and/or ask your optometrist about it.
Learn more about cataracts by visiting The American Academy of Ophthalmology cataract information page at www.aao.org
 Genetic and Dietary Factors Influencing the Progression of Nuclear Cataract, Yonova-Doing, et al. Ophthalmology, 2016.  Inverse Association of Vitamin C with Cataract in Older People in India, Ravindran et al, Ophthalmology, 2011.  Cataract Surgery Cost Utility Revisited in 2012, Brown et al, Ophthalmology, 2013