June is the month dedicated to promoting cataract awareness. Cataracts are a condition affecting millions of people around the globe but they are easily treatable. A cataract can be correctable with a quick, minor surgical procedure at your ophthalmologist’s office.
Here are a few facts you need to know about cataracts during this awareness month.
According to the World Health Organization, cataracts are the number one cause of blindness globally. They account for over 51 percent of blindness worldwide. Although treatment through minor surgery is available, specific barriers prevent people from receiving adequate treatment.
Statistics show that nearly 25 million Americans over 40 suffer from this condition. Experts predict that this figure might rise due to increased life expectancy. By 2050, they expect approximately 50 million Americans will develop the disease.
Cataracts are often age-related. However, some people have congenital cataracts. This means they are existent at birth. In more recent statistics in the U.S., approximately 1 in 6 people over 40 are already developing cataracts. By 75, half of all Americans will have this eye disorder. Additionally, women are at a slightly higher risk of developing cataracts than men.
If you are an older adult and your vision is getting blurry, you may have cataracts. They usually form slowly and may be unnoticeable until your vision becomes cloudy. Some of the symptoms you will experience include:
Nearsightedness in older adults
Issues with glare during the day
Vision issues when driving at night. It may consist of glare from oncoming headlights
Foggy or blurry vision
Changes in your color perception
Cloudy or filmy vision
Problems with contact lenses or eyeglasses not working well
The only way to get rid of cataracts is through surgery. However, you do not necessarily need the surgery immediately. If you catch cataracts early, prescription eyeglasses might improve your vision. Use special eyeglasses with an anti-glare coating if glare is a significant problem. Using a magnifying glass or a brighter lamp might also help when reading.
There are many types of cataract surgery. Nonetheless, they all have one thing in common—removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial one. It is a simple surgery that takes about 15 minutes, and you get home afterward. You will also get local anesthesia to numb your eye during the procedure, making it painless. Some of the surgeries to treat cataracts include:
Femtosecond laser surgery
Recovery is smooth for most patients. Depending on the surgery you choose, your vision should improve within days or a few weeks. However, some people may experience posterior capsule opacification (POC) after the surgery.
This happens when the capsule holding the new lens becomes thicker, causing cloudiness again. It might occur after a year or, in some cases, ten years later. It is, however, fixable using YAG laser surgery.
For more on cataracts and how they are treated, contact Optique Vision at our office in Albany, New York. You can call (518) 302-2106 today to book an appointment.