Everything You Need to Know About Cataracts
Anyone currently living with cataracts has likely reached the step where cataract surgery is the next logical form of treatment. Over time, as cataracts worsen, vision-related problems become more commonplace. Your vision appears cloudy and blurred, which makes driving and other activities downright dangerous. But you have treatment options available. It’s just a matter of finding the right solution. First and foremost, understanding cataracts is crucial to the process!
What Causes Cataracts?
As we age, the protein within your eye begins to clump together, forming a cloudy blockage over the small area of the lens. This cloudiness is known as a cataract. If left alone, the cataract will begin to expand and cover more of the lens, making it more difficult to see clearly.
There are a few known causes of cataracts, and some that are simply speculation. For instance, researchers suspect that smoking and diabetes can cause cataracts. The most probable cause is age, though, as the protein in the lens takes a beating over the years and changes.
Who is at Risk for Cataracts?
Your risk for cataracts increases as you grow older. Typically, cataracts begin appearing for individuals in their 40s and 50s. During middle age, cataracts tend to be small and rarely affect vision. After 60, however, cataracts begin to become more persistent and problematic.
Some additional risk factors include:
- Environment – prolonged exposure to ultraviolet sunlight, for example
- Diseases – diabetes, etc.
- Personal behavior – smoking, alcohol usage, etc.
The early symptoms of cataracts may be improved with a stronger eyeglass prescription, brighter lighting, anti-glare lenses, or magnifying lenses. If these do not help, surgery is the most effective form of treatment available. During the procedure, your eye care specialist will remove the cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial lens.