Cataracts: they’re not something you want. But yet they’re very common among older adults, particularly those over 60. You may know that cataracts are characterized by cloudy or blurred vision, but there are a whole host of other symptoms to be on the lookout for, such as:
- Sensitivity to glare and light.
- Increasing difficulty with vision at night.
- Need for brighter light when reading and performing other activities.
- Seeing “halos” appear around lights.
- Frequent changes in eyeglass prescriptions or contact lens prescriptions.
- Fading or yellowing of colors.
Cataracts are cloudy areas in the lens of the eye, affecting a little more than half of all Americans who are older than 80, says the National Eye Institute – even though people can start developing them as early as age 40.
Cataracts don’t happen suddenly. They are a gradual process, whereby you aren’t aware you’re suffering from them right away. The first sign is that your vision starts to get blurry, hazy, or much less vibrant. Then difficulty driving, reading or performing other every-day activities will start to set in. Surgery is the only cure.
Most cataracts are related to age. Translation: they just happen as we get older, like gray hair or joint problems. Cataracts can result from an eye injury or after you have undergone surgery for glaucoma.
Common Signs: What to Be on the Lookout For
Initially, cataracts are relatively mild with no noticeable symptoms. But with growth, comes changes in vision, like:
- Cloudy, dim or blurry vision
- Colors begin looking faded
- Tough to see clearly at night
- Lamps, sunlight, and headlights make you cringe for their brightness.
- Double vision
It may even seem like you’re changing your prescription every year too. Once they start, the changes will rapidly build up until your eye doctor will eventually recommend surgery. Temporary or permanent vision loss can result if you let these symptoms go.
One thing to note: the symptoms you may be experiencing aren’t all exclusive to cataracts. They could be signs of other issues, which is why your annual exam is so important.
Who is Most at Risk?
Risk increases with age as well as these factors. Do you:
- Have a family history of cataracts?
- Suffer from diabetes?
- Drink alcohol excessively?
- Spend a lot of time in the sun?
- Take steroids?
In addition to the above, if you have recently had an injury to the eye, eye surgery, or radiation treatment on the upper half of your body, you’re at a greater risk for cataracts.
Can You Prevent Cataracts?
While you can’t always prevent all instances of cataracts, there are steps you can take to reduce risk such as:
- Wearing sunglasses and brimmed hats outdoors
- Nixing the smoking
- Eating fruits and vegetables, like spinach, collard greens and kale
- Get a dilated eye exam every two years once you hit 60.
During a visit with your eye doctor, they will check if you have cataracts, using eye drops to dilate your pupils.
Contact Simon Eye Associates If you are concerned you may be developing cataracts, contact us today to book your appointment at 302-239-1933.