Your eye functions in a manner similar to a camera. Any good camera needs a clear lens to focus an image. Just like a Nikon or Leica camera, if the lens of your eye becomes cloudy or dirty, it is impossible to capture a clear image. This clouding of the eye’s lens is known as a cataract.
Cataracts are common, but not completely understood. Below, the team at Vista Eye Specialists shares facts about cataracts that may surprise you.
Cataracts Can Develop At Any Age
Cataracts are often attributed to getting older. However, cataracts are not exclusive to older adults; they are sometimes found in babies or develop in children or young adults due to factors such as severe eye injuries or having a medical condition like diabetes.
You Can’t Completely Avoid Cataracts, But You Can Lower Your Risk
Although cataracts are usually an unavoidable part of the aging process, risk factors for early onset cataracts include smoking, long-term exposure to UV rays, prolonged use of corticosteroid medications and severe eye injuries. Practicing the following behaviors can reduce (not completely eliminate) the risk of early onset cataracts:
- Not smoking
- Limiting consumption of alcohol
- Protecting eyes from overexposure to the sun by wearing sunglasses
- Staying active and eating a healthy diet
Also, undergoing regular eye exams is crucial to catching the formation of cataracts early, which can slow or stop vision loss.
Cataracts Develop Slowly
For most people, cataracts are a slow-moving condition. Around the age of 40, changes start happening inside the eye that lead to the development of cataracts. But many people do not require treatment for cataracts until they are 60 or older.
Cataracts Do Not Spread From One Eye to the Other
Cataracts are not contagious and do not spread from one eye to the other. If you develop cataracts in both eyes, you can attribute it to the same cause.
Cataracts Can Cause More Than Just Blurry Vision
The symptoms of cataracts can vary widely. Common symptoms include cloudy or blurry vision, halos around lights, sensitivity to light, colors that appear dull and poor night vision. Frequent adjustments in eyeglass prescription may indicate visual changes caused by cataracts.
Cataracts Cannot Be Treated With Eyedrops or Medications
Unlike other eye diseases like glaucoma or dry eye disease, you cannot manage the effects of cataracts with eyedrops or medications. The only way to treat cataracts is to have them removed through cataract surgery.
Cataract Surgery Is Extremely Common and Routine
Cataract surgery is one of the most routine procedures performed in the United States. During cataract surgery, the natural clouded lens of the eye is broken into small pieces, removed from the eye and replaced with an artificial lens. When performed by an experienced cataract surgeon, serious complications are very rare.
Contact Vista Eye Specialists Today
If you are experiencing changes to your vision that suggest cataracts, you should see an eye doctor to confirm or rule out a problem. Contact Vista Eye Specialists today to request a consultation with our team.