Seeing Clearly - Understanding Cataracts

Did you know that the risk of cataracts increases each decade after the age of 40? With aging being the most common cause of cataracts, it’s important understand this condition and how to detect it early on.

What are Cataracts?

Cataracts develop as a cloudy area in the lens of your eye. As a result, your vision can become blurry, hazy or lacking in color. For the eye to see, light passes through the clear lens, located behind the iris. However, when the lens is clouded by a cataract, the eye can’t focus light the same way, thus creating distorted vision.

How are Cataracts Caused?

The older you get, the more at risk you are of developing cataracts. As your eyes age, the proteins in the lens of the eye begin to break down and clump together, leading to a cataract. With time, the cataract becomes more prominent and clouds more of the lens. Though aging is unavoidable, there are other elements that can speed up the development of cataracts including diabetes, steroids, eye surgery or injuries, radiation treatment and excessive sun exposure.

Are There Common Symptoms?

The most obvious sign of cataracts is cloudy, blurry or filmy vision. Other common symptoms include:

  • Sensitivity to bright light
  • Seeing a halo around lights, especially at night when driving
  • Prescription changes in glasses, specifically sudden-nearsightedness
  • Double vision
  • Declining night vision
  • Change in the way you see colors

Can Cataracts be Treated?

Treatment for cataracts will vary based on the severity. If your symptoms are mild, you can make simple changes to accommodate your change in vision, like using brighter lights and wearing anti-glare sunglasses. A new eyeglass or contact lens prescription will also help you see better early on. If your cataracts begin to interfere with every day activities, your eye doctor will likely recommend surgery. Fortunately, this is a very safe procedure and 9 out of 10 people are able to see better afterwards.

The information contained above is intended to be educational in nature, does not constitute medical advice, and should not be relied on as a substitute for actual professional medical advice, care or treatment. If you have any vision, dental or other health related concerns, VBA encourages you to immediately contact your optometrist/ophthalmologist, dentist/orthodontist or any other competent, licensed, medical professional.