Wednesday, June 19, 2024

June is Cataract Awareness Month

A cataract is the clouding of the clear lens in the eye. This lens focuses incoming light on the retina in the back of the eye, from which nerves lead to the brain. The image you see is created when your brain interprets the nerve messages about the light coming through the lens. A cataract is sometimes caused by the aging of the cells in the lens of the eye. As they clump together, they make vision more difficult. Sometimes the lens gradually becomes colored brownish or yellowish, changing the appearance of what you look at. In addition to aging, other risk factors for cataracts in adulthood include diabetes, eye injury, smoking, steroid use, and UV rays from the sun. Symptoms of cataracts include blurry vision, faded colors, halos or glare around lights, poor night vision, or prescription changes becoming more frequent. Cataracts can happen to children and babies. About 3 out of 10,000 children have cataracts. Childhood cataracts can be genetic, or from the mother having German measles while pregnant. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide. They are frequently detected at a routine eye doctor checkup, before you even realize you have a problem. Cataracts are easily treatable by surgery, which restores quality of life to those who have the surgery. Cataract surgery usually is followed up with postoperative antibiotics, steroids, and/or NSAIDs. Your eye doctor will check your eye(s) later on the day of surgery and again a week later. You should be able to drive and return to work after a few days. However, cataract surgery will not restore your vision totally. You will probably need glasses, at least for near vision, when you have healed from the surgery.

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