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Did you know June is Cataract Awareness Month?

Posted June 10, 2024 in Eye Health

June is Cataract Awareness Month, a perfect time to shine a light on this common eye condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Cataracts, characterized by the clouding of the eye’s natural lens, can lead to vision impairment and, if left untreated, blindness. Through this blog we aim to help you understand more about this condition and how it can be treated.

Cataracts

What are cataracts?

Cataracts occur when proteins in the eye’s lens begin to break down and clump together, causing the lens to become cloudy. This cloudiness can obstruct light from passing through the lens to the retina, leading to blurred or impaired vision. Cataracts typically develop slowly and can affect one or both eyes. They are more common in older adults but can also occur due to other factors such as diabetes, injury, or prolonged exposure to UV radiation.

What are the symptoms of cataracts?

The symptoms of cataracts can vary depending on the severity and progression of the condition. Common signs include blurry or cloudy vision, difficulty seeing at night, sensitivity to light and glare, seeing halos around lights, frequent changes in prescription glasses, and fading or yellowing of colors. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to schedule an eye exam to determine if cataracts are the cause.

How are cataracts diagnosed?

Cataracts are diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam. During the exam, your eye doctor will perform several tests, including a visual acuity test to measure how well you see at various distances, a dilated eye exam to examine the retina and lens for signs of cataracts, tonometry to measure the pressure inside your eye, and a retinal exam to see the back of your eye, including the retina and optic nerve. These tests help in assessing the presence and severity of cataracts, enabling the doctor to recommend the appropriate treatment.

What are the treatment options for cataracts?

The primary treatment for cataracts is surgery. Cataract surgery is a safe and effective procedure where the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens. There are two main types of cataract surgery: 

  • Phacoemulsification: It uses ultrasound waves to break up the cloudy lens that is then removed and replaced with an artificial lens, and 
  • Extracapsular surgery: It involves removing the cloudy part of the lens through a larger incision and replacing it with an artificial lens. In the early stages, changes in glasses prescriptions, improved lighting, and anti-glare sunglasses may help manage symptoms, but surgery is the only permanent solution.

How can you prevent cataracts?

Preventing cataracts involves adopting a healthy lifestyle and protecting your eyes. The following tips can help reduce your risk:

  • Wear sunglasses: Protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.
  • Maintain a healthy diet: Eat foods rich in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables.
  • Quit smoking: Smoking increases the risk of cataracts.
  • Limit alcohol consumption: Excessive drinking can contribute to cataract development.
  • Manage health conditions: Keep conditions like diabetes under control.
  • Regular eye exams: Early detection can prevent serious complications.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of cataracts or it’s been a while since your last eye checkup, don’t wait. Come to Erin Ridge Vision Care for a comprehensive eye checkup today. Our experienced team is here to help you maintain optimal eye health and clear vision. Contact us to schedule your appointment.

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