It’s estimated that more than half of all Americans age 80 or older have cataracts or have had surgery to get rid of them. As a common cause of age-related vision loss, it’s important to know what cataracts are and what you can do to slow down the progression of this condition.
Here is what you need to know about cataracts.
- Cataracts are a clouding of the clear lens of the eye, much like looking through a fogged-up window. This makes it difficult to read and drive a car, especially at night.
- Patients who have cataracts not only complain of clouded vision, but also may have sensitivity to light, have a need for brighter light to read, see halos around lights, have double vision in one eye, and may have frequent changes in their prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses.
- Cataracts develop slowly and over time will interfere with vision. When this impaired vision interferes with your daily activities, you may be a candidate for cataract surgery.
- Regular eye exams will help you and your eye doctor stay on top of any changes to your vision and detect cataracts early on to help prolong the onset of symptoms and progression of the condition. If you experience sudden vision changes, including eye pain or headache, double vision or flashes of light, see your doctor right away.
- Cataracts develop from injury, aging or even genetic disorders. Medical conditions such as diabetes or prolonged use of corticosteroid medications can lead to cataracts.
- Risk factors for developing cataracts include aging, diabetes, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, eye injury or inflammation, previous eye surgery, excess alcohol consumption and excessive exposure to sunlight.
- While you may not be able to prevent cataracts, there are some things you can do that may help slow down the progression such as quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption and following a healthy lifestyle with exercise and consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables. Also wear sunglasses that block the sun’s harmful ultraviolet B rays.
Regular eye exams are important to stay on top of any changes to your eye health. Call 808.955.3937 for an appointment with Dr. Maehara.