August is Cataracts Awareness Month: Schedule your Eye Exam in Miami Beach Today
A surprising number of don’t know that cataracts affect approximately 20.5 million Americans over the age of 40. In reality, over 50% of senior citizens have some amount of cataracts.
What are cataracts?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s clear lens. The clouding prevents the transmission of light needed for eyesight.
Symptoms of cataracts
Often adults associate vision loss with age however cataracts do have some signs that are distinct from regular age-related vision problems. Depending on the type of cataract, you may experience slightly hazy vision, sensitivity to sun light or artificial light or a decrease in color vibrancy. Some types of cataracts show no symptoms until they are well developed while others may even show signs of what is known as second sight” or a temporary improvement in near vision.
Types of Cataracts
There are three main types of cataracts which are differentiated by where they are positioned within the lens. A cataract found at the back of the lens is referred to as a subcapsular cataract. Subcapsular cataracts are an increased risk for individuals that have diabetes, extreme cases of farsightedness or retinitis pigmentosa or are prescribed high doses of steroid medications.A cataract located in the central area (nucleus) of the lens is called a nuclear cataract and is usually found in conjunction with growing older. Finally, a cortical cataract usually occurs in the lens cortex, the area encircling the central nucleus. Cortical cataracts often start off with white opacities that start in the periphery of the lens and work their way to the central area.
Preventing and Treating Cataracts
Researchers have not found surefire ways to avoid cataracts but some say that reducing ultraviolet exposure your eyes from UV rays with sunglasses can reduce cataract development. Some studies show that antioxidants and limiting salt consumption can also be preventative.
Although early loss of sight can be treated using visual aids such as eyeglasses or magnifying devices, eventually vision will likely be impaired enough to require surgical treatment. Cataract surgery is in fact the most common surgery in America and is typically a success. In the standard surgery, the doctor removes the lens and replaces it with a clear plastic lens called an IOL (intraocular lens). For 9 out of 10 patients, they are able to restore vision to between 20/20 and 20/40.
To ensure early diagnosis and treatment it is important to book an annual eye examination to detect signs of eye diseases such as cataracts. Call our Miami Beach, FL eye practice today to schedule your appointment.