Did you know that June has been designated as Cataract Awareness Month? According to Prevent Blindness America, cataract has been mostly taken for granted as another sign of aging. However, there are over more than 24 million Americans age 40 and older who have cataract, and this eye health problem has been a major cause of blindness worldwide.
However, cataracts are not only limited to older people, since everyone can develop this eye disease regardless of age. Accidents with eye injuries, genes, and lifestyle habits like heavy smoking also contribute to cataract progression.
What is a cataract?
The onset of cataract is subtle. Most people who have cataracts in their eyes have noted that the start of this eye disease did not come with pain in the eyes, or even visible signs like redness or swelling. However, over time, vision may become hazy and unfocused due to clouding in the eye lenses. Gradually, you may experience blurred and dim vision.
Progression can also be present when you think you only need an adjustment in your glasses, but you can’t seem to find the right prescription for clear vision. It may already be too late when you only notice the cataract once it has visible signs, like milky-white or yellowish fleck in your pupils.
Although cataracts are prevalent, their treatment only involves a cataract surgery, where the surgeon removes the problematic lens and replaces it with an artificial one. However, even if the treatment is simple and considered generally safe, you still need to work with established, professional specialists.
Cataract management does not stop after removal. Although the treatment only lasts for around 15 minutes, post-surgery steps are also important. While the surgery may be successful, the artificial lens can become cloudy, a process called capsular opacification. A special team of skilled specialists will make sure opacification will not occur.
Are cataracts preventable?
While it can be treated, there is no sure-fire way to avoid having cataracts, especially for age-related ones. However, a healthy lifestyle and proper eye care management may delay the onset of this eye disease. Nonetheless, while it is commonly known that proper eye protection and healthy eating are keys to proper eye care, a visit to retinal specialists is still a big help. These specialists can check your eye and give specific and highly-detailed tips on how to properly care for your eyes. In addition, should you already experience dim or hazy vision, the specialists can also examine your eyes for early detection and prevent the cataracts to progress. This is important prior to cataract surgery; the longer the cataracts are left untreated, the more difficult it is to replace the lenses and restore your sight.
Meanwhile, other than cataracts, a skilled and professional retinal specialist can also do an early detection for a variety of other eye-related problems.