Cataract is an extremely common eye disease affects millions of people but is easily treatable — and can even be corrected with a fast, minor and virtually pain-free surgical procedure.
In honor of cataract awareness month, here are some facts to help you become more familiar with this eye condition.
Did you know…
#1 Cataracts are a natural result of aging — a cataract is a clouding of the eye lens that can affect clear vision
Cataracts is a common eye disease that can happen simply because of age. Cataracts can effect one or both eyes. To make sure cataracts don’t affect your vision, it’s important to get regular eye exams — especially if you’re over the age of 55.
#2 Age is not the only risk factor for cataracts. Lifestyle and behavior can also have an influence
Aside from aging, certain hereditary and physical traits, health conditions and certain lifestyle habits can contribute to the development of cataracts. Here are a few factors that can increase your chance of developing a cataract:
- Family history of cataracts
- Excessive exposure to sunlight without UV Protection
- High blood pressure
#3 Wearing UV-blocking sunglasses and eating foods rich in Vitamin C are two lifestyle changes that may help lower your risk for cataracts
Proactively protecting your eyes won’t stop cataracts from forming, but it can lower your risk. Always wear UV-blocking sunglasses or a shady hat when outdoors on a sunny day and eat a balanced diet that’s rich in vision-supporting foods.
#4 By age 75, over 70% of people have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.
Since it’s largely age related, cataracts are extremely common. Many people who develop a cataract undergo cataract surgery to remove the cloudy lens and restore their vision.
#5 Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world
Cataracts is a clouding of the eye lens — a vital part of clear vision. Left untreated, cataracts can lead to partial or total blindness. This, coupled with the fact that cataracts can naturally occur with age, makes it a dangerous disease if not proactively addressed.
#6 Babies can be born with cataracts.
Although rare, some babies are born with cataracts, a condition known as congenital cataracts. Infections in the mother during pregnancy, such as rubella, syphilis, chicken pox and cytomegalovirus, can cause the condition, as well as some other metabolic problems, diabetes, trauma, inflammation and drug reactions.
#7 Cataract surgery is nearly painless and typically takes under 30 minutes
Cataracts can be quickly and effectively treated with surgery. The natural lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). This new lens allows the patient to see clearly again.
#8 Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgery in Nigeria each year
Because cataracts are so common, and because the issue can be easily treated at a very high success rate, cataract surgery has become extremely common. Patients suffering from cataracts or who notice their vision blurring and the surface of their eye(s) looking cloudy should schedule an eye exam immediately.
#9 In addition to improving vision, cataract surgery has also been shown to improve quality of life and reduce the risk of falling
Better vision means you can get back to doing the things you love and have to worry less that poor sight could contribute to a devastating fall.