Did you know about 22.3 million Americans have cataracts? It’s true – cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness round the world. June is Cataracts Awareness Month, so we wanted to do our part to spread the word about this vision-stealing condition and what you can do to prevent it.
What are cataracts?
Just like a camera, your eyes use a lens to see. The lens sits just below your iris and is responsible for helping you see clearly. A cataract occurs when the proteins that make up your lens begin to clump together and cloud your lens. The clouding of your lens prevents light from passing through, which leads to vision problems and eventually blindness.
How can I prevent cataracts?
There are 3 types of cataracts: nuclear sclerotic, cortical, and posterior subcapsular. Nuclear sclerotic cataracts are most often caused by old age. Those with diabetes are at risk of developing cortical cataracts.
Posterior subcapsular cataracts have been linked to many factors including: smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, exposure to UV rays, prolonged use of steroid medications, alcoholism, eye injury, and family history.
When you look at what causes cataracts, it becomes clear that a healthy lifestyle can be the key to preventing cataracts from occurring later in life. Quitting the smoking habit, eating right, and wearing sunglasses when outdoors are small steps that you can do to keep your vision healthy for a lifetime.
What happens if I have cataracts?
If you have been having vision problems, go see your optometrist. Optometrists are specialized in detecting and managing ocular diseases. Cataracts, like other ocular diseases, will not simply go away.
Vision can be restored through cataracts surgery, but only your eye doctors will be able to determine if you are good candidate for surgery.
If you are having vision problems, schedule an appointment online today with Dr. Gregor.