Cataracts affect more than fifty percent of Americans over the age of 65. Age related blindnessis commonly attributed to the clouding of the lens. The way your eyes function is through a lens which acts as a “camera” and then captures an image in the back of the eye. When an image first enters your eye it goes through an outer lens, which bends the light to reach the back of the eye where the optic nerve lies. When you develop cataracts the first lens becomes clouded, leading to difficulties in vision. The difficulties in vision result from protein build up on the outer lens. This protein build up causes the blurring of vision due to light being unable to get through to the optic nerve.
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There are three different types of cataracts that form in the eyes. The first are due to age and, as mentioned above, affect more than half of adults over the age of 65. The second type of cataracts is those that are present from birth or early childhood due to infection, or exposure to something toxic, including UV light or radiation. Finally the third type of cataracts is caused due to a traumatic injury to the eye.
If you think you may be suffering from cataracts, the following would be symptoms you may be experiencing:
- Vision will become cloudy, blurry, and foggy or appear as if you have a film in front of your eyes.
- There maybe discoloration in your vision or colors may appear different than they used to. Further difficulty seeing at night and problems with glare during the day may indicate further vision problems.
- Other symptoms may include double vision (two images on top of each other) and rapid vision deterioration.
If you are diagnosed with cataractsthere are a few different treatment options available to you. Normally the first treatment is to change contact, bifocal or eyeglass prescription. If a change in prescription is not sufficient to correct your vision then the next step would be surgery. Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure and is one of the most frequently performed surgeries in the United States. This is an extremely viable option, as cataract surgery works approximately 9 out of 10 times.
It is unknown how best to prevent cataracts. What you can do is have yearly check ups with your eye doctor and get your eyes checked regularly and if you have a family history of cataracts or other vision problems then you should inform your physician. Cataracts are easily treated and being honest with your doctor is the best way to treat and prevent cataracts.
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