One of the most common eye health problems people encounter is cataracts. It is the leading cause of blindness worldwide, and even in the U.S. where we have effective treatment options, more than half of all Americans will have cataracts by the time they turn 80.
June is National Cataract Awareness Month. As with any health issue, there are misconceptions about cataracts, including that it is only a concern for elderly people. The truth is there are risk factors for developing cataracts at a younger age, and the earlier you start taking good care of your eyes, the better your chances of avoiding cataracts.
- Wear your sunglasses. Studies indicate that exposure to harmful UV rays is linked to the development of cataracts.
- If you smoke, stop. Smoking is linked to so many health issues, including cataracts.
- Protect your eyes from injury and disease. Make sure you have an annual check-up to stay on top of eye health issues, and wear protective lenses any time your eyes are at risk during sports, on the job or with other activities.
- Stay on top of your health. Other diseases such as diabetes and hypertension increase your risk for developing cataracts.
One of the most challenging aspects of treating cataracts is that symptoms often aren’t noticeable in the early stages. Regular eye exams are critical for early detection. Some symptoms to be aware of are:
- Cloudy or blurry vision.
- Faded colors.
- Glare. Light from headlights, lamps and sunlight may appear too bring. A halo effect may appear around the lights.
- Night vision problems.
- Double vision or multiple images in the eye.
If you need to schedule your annual exam, summer is a great time to do it. If you have questions about the level of UV protection your sunglasses provide, we are happy to take a look. As always, please get in touch with any questions or concerns you have about your eyes.