Catching Cataracts Early
More than half of all Americans are predicted to develop cataracts within their lifetime, and the prevalence of this condition has been on the rise in recent years. Recognizing the symptoms early will lead to better, more effective treatment. The early signs can be easily missed or mistaken for near sightedness, so read on to find out what your eyes could be telling you about cataracts:
How it Starts
Cataracts do not just come on suddenly. Rather, a small one will develop in your eye and have very little effect on your vision. You may notice blurring of your vision at first; it will probably look like looking through a cloudy piece of glass. These symptoms will be very slight and not very noticeable at first.
You may start to notice blurred vision more often and more intensely than before. You may also start to notice how light from a lamp or the sun will seem too glaring and bright. Driving at night might also get more difficult because of the light coming from the oncoming headlights. Colors might also seem duller and less bright.
Depending on the type of cataract you have, your symptoms might look different. For example, if you have a nuclear cataract, then you may notice an improvement in your near vision at first. This is temporary, though, and will disappear when the cataracts become worse. Another type of cataract, a subcapsular cataract, may not produce any symptoms until it is advanced.
It’s important to see your eye doctor right away if you are noticing these signs or think you might be developing cataracts.
Causes of Cataracts
The lenses inside your eyes work to focus light onto the retina and to adjust focus for a clear view, like a camera would. The protein in the lens (which is made of water and protein) is arranged in a very specific way so that light can pass through and keep the lens clear. However, as we age, the protein may start to group together and cloud an area of the lens. Over time, the clump could grow larger and make it hard to see.
Cataracts are caused by more than just aging eyes, though. While that is a factor, there are more factors that can go into causing this condition. Researchers have found that these factors or conditions are associated with or help cause cataracts:
- Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and other sources
- Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications
- Statin medicines used to reduce cholesterol
- Previous eye injury or inflammation
- Previous eye surgery
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Significant alcohol consumption
- High myopia
- Family history
Prevention and Treatment
There are some prevention methods you can do to prevent cataracts; however, some doctors disagree about whether these are effective. There are certain studies, though, that show that some kinds of nutrients and supplements can help reduce your risk. Vitamin E, found in sunflower seeds, almonds and spinach, has shown to be helpful in preventing cataracts. The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, found in green leafy vegetables, have also shown to help prevent cataracts.
Treating cataracts usually has a high success rate. At first, a stronger eye glass prescription and better lighting will help counteract the effect of the cataracts. When symptoms become worse, your doctor may recommend you for surgery. Cataract surgery is very successful, relatively simple and almost painless. Over 3 million Americans have had cataract surgery done every year, and surgeons and researchers are always coming up with improvements to the surgery.
Advanced Eye Medical Group is led by experienced eye doctors with a mission to deliver their patients clearer vision, while providing them the highest quality care. Their team of doctors and specialists have years of experience to deliver outstanding and advanced laser eye and cataract surgery.