June is Cataract Awareness Month!

Did you know cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss or blindness in the world? According to The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), more than 2.5 million Canadians have them. That is quite a number. Losing vision is a scary ordeal, which is why we should learn as much as possible about them and prepare yourself with proper information, instead of feeling defeat or nervous. Here are some basic facts.


Eye with Severe Cataract Vs. Eye Without Cataract

What are cataracts?

A cataract is described as a clouding of the crystalline lens in the eye, which may prevent a clear image from forming on the retina. Most often, cataracts naturally develop over a period of time and comes on so slowly that a patient may not even notice it happening. The effect is similar to looking through a foggy window. It is common to see those over 40 developing it, however, the ocular problem may happen any age.

What are the symptoms of cataracts?

Normal Vision Vs. Cataract Vision

Blurred or cloudy vision, decreasing ability to see in low light situations, scattered halos or rings appearing around lights, faded or washed out colours and double vision are common signs of cataract formation. Prescription eyewear is updated more frequently due to the demand of wanting to see sharply.

Poor vision caused by cataracts may also result in an increased risk of falling and depression.

What causes the formation of cataracts?

Cataracts are often brought on by changes in the eye caused by the natural aging process, an accident or complications from other medical conditions; for example, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, smokers or someone who has had a previous eye injury or eye surgery. Cataracts may be brought on by prolonged use of corticosteroid medications, alcohol abuse or excessive exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) rays. You are also at risk, if you have a family history of cataracts. There are scenarios where cataracts are present at birth.


What can you do to prevent cataracts?

There is no guaranteed way to prevent cataracts, but there are numerous ways to maintain the health of your eyes. Make it mandatory to wear sunglasses, with full UV protection, under sunlight and a white brimmed hat. If you smoke, quit, or do not start smoking. Exercise and eat healthy. Some dietary suggestions include vitamin E, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, niacin, and omega 3 fatty acids. Protect your eyes with safety goggles to prevent eye injuries.

Always regularly visit your eye care provider for an examination to ensure the health of your eyes. Early detection, early treatment. Consultations and advices always assuring. Call Today!

If you have cataracts, what do you do?

Cataracts can be measured by different levels of severity. If you are in the early stages of cataracts, the eye care professional may choose to regularly monitor your eyes, while upgrading your eyeglass prescription to offer improved vision. Non-glare glasses are highly recommended due to the excessive halos experienced in the light source. UV protected sunglasses are highly recommended to slow down the progression and reduce light sensitivity.

When the cataracts are quite severe, the best treatment is a procedure to have the foggy crystalline lens removed and replaced by an artificial lens, commonly known as intraocular lens. It is quite effective and most of your vision can be restored. This day and age, cataracts procedures are mastered by doctors; they are extremely safe and unobtrusive. The results improve quality of life immediately and the healing process is within 2 months.

If you have other existing eye health problems, your eye care provider will advise otherwise and do their best with eyeglasses or other visual aids instead. Contact us how we can maintain and improve your quality of vision.

It is true that having cataracts is a difficult experience, but armed with information means that you know what to expect and how to prevent it.


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