A surprising number of individuals aren't aware that cataracts are the number one cause of blindness amongst individuals over 54. In fact, more than half of senior citizens have some degree of cataract development.
What is a cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye's natural lens. This prohibits the transmission of light necessary for proper vision.
Signs of cataracts
Cataracts can often be mistaken as normal age-related vision loss, yet there are some symptoms that set them apart. Depending on the type of cataract, you may experience slightly blurry vision, increased glare from light or a noticeable dullness of colors. Some cataracts show no signs until they are well developed while others may even result in a temporary improvement in near vision known as ''second sight''.
Cataract comes from cataracta which means ''waterfall'' in Latin. This may be because the appearance of opaque clouds in the lens is similar to the white cloudy rapids seen in a waterfall. Senile cataracts, which occur in the elderly usually show an initial opacity in the lens, followed by swelling and shrinkage of the lens leading to eventual blindness.
Preventing and Treating Cataracts
There is not yet a certain answer to prevent the development of cataracts but some say that guarding your eyes from UV rays with sunglasses can reduce cataract development. Some research shows that antioxidants and reduced salt consumption can also play a role in prevention.
In the initial stages, vision correction can be used to correct loss of sight, nevertheless, at some point vision will likely be impaired enough to necessitate surgery. Cataract surgery is in fact the most common surgery in the US and is generally very successful. Generally, the surgeon removes the lens and replaces it with a clear plastic lens called an IOL (intraocular lens). In nine out of 10 patients, vision is restored to between 20/20 and 20/40.
Don't let vision diseases go undiagnosed. An annual eye exam is advised for every adult, particularly those over 40. Contact our Mississauga, ON eye practice today to schedule your appointment.