Recently, Prevent Blindness America reported that there are more global cases of cataracts than there are glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy combined. Just in the U.S., the disease affects more than 22 million Americans over the age of 40.
In order to further educate people about this serious affliction, here are some facts about cataracts, their causes, prevention, and treatment. Take a few minutes to talk with the special senior in your life about how to prevent cataracts, and make sure to take care of your own eyes as well.
A cataract forms in the lens of the eye, behind the pupil and the colored iris. The lens is made of fibers and water molecules which are arranged to allow light to pass through clearly. When these fibers begin to split over time, they cluster together, forming a cataract. The cataract clouds the lens, obstructing vision. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness among older adults in the United States. By age 65, about half of seniors have cataracts.
Unfortunately, sometimes cataracts have no specific or identifiable cause. A family history of cataracts or diabetes can increase your chances of developing cataracts. However, there are some risk factors you can avoid to prevent cataracts from forming.
Long-term exposure to UV rays and excessive sunlight is at the top of the risk factor list for cataracts. Sun safety includes your eyes, so make sure to wear sunglasses that provide 100% protection against UV rays and are dark enough to block the sunlight’s glare. Unhealthy eating habits and smoking can also lead to cataract formation, so if you needed another reason to eat healthy or quit smoking, consider your eye health!
Treatments for cataracts include better eyeglasses, lighting, and sunglasses, but the only way to remove a cataract is with surgery.
To learn more about cataracts, prevention, and eye health, visit Prevent Blindness America. At AlmaVia of Union City, our living spaces are designed to be comfortable and safe for those with vision problems. For more information, visit www.almaviaofunioncity.org or call (510) 400-7250.