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Taking A Closer Look at Cataracts


June is Cataract Awareness Month. While cataracts are one of the most common eye disorders in the United States and around the world, too few people understand the causes, symptoms and treatment options.

  • Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the U.S.

The United States Centers for Disease and Control estimates that nearly 30 million Americans have cataracts. That’s more than 2x the total number of people with glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration – combined. 

  • One out of every six Americans over age 40 has cataracts.

Most people think of cataracts as only affecting the elderly, but symptoms – and even vision loss – often start as early as age 40. An estimated 20.5 million (17.2{4041723e139b6b4f31dddbe6d75f16c77973055679a7bb523e38f021bdade945}) Americans aged 40 years and older have cataract in one or both eyes. Even more cause for concern, the likelihood of developing cataracts doubles in your 50s and doubles again in your 60s. By the age of 80, more than 50{4041723e139b6b4f31dddbe6d75f16c77973055679a7bb523e38f021bdade945} of Americans have cataracts. 

  • Smoking and excessive sunlight add to the risk of developing cataracts.

Smoking doubles the risk of developing nuclear sclerotic cataracts and triples the risk for subscapular cataracts. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can also promote cataract development, reinforcing the importance of wearing UV-blocking sunglasses outdoors. 

  • Symptoms Can Range from Mild to Dangerous

The most common symptom of cataracts is cloudy or blurred vision. Other symptoms include difficulty seeing at night or in dim light, glare, sensitivity to light, seeing halos around lights, faded colors, and the need for more light when reading. Some people also experience frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions. One of the most concerning potential symptoms is double vision in one eye, or “ghosting” around objects, which can produce balance issues that can result in falls or hazardous driving.

  • Surgery is the only effective treatment for cataracts.

Cataracts permanently damage the natural eye lens. The only way to restore a patient’s vision therefor is by surgically replacing the natural lens with an artificial lens. Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures in the world and is recognized as safe and effective.

Keeping your eyes healthy is essential to being able to maintain a full lifestyle, especially as we continue to age. That’s why a Vision Plan from ASBA is so important. It can help you save money on everything from checkups to UV-blocking sunglasses. To sign up, learn more here. 

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/basics/ced/index.html