Cataracts are a degenerative eye condition usually associated with advanced age, but people of all ages can be treated for cataracts. June is Cataract Awareness Month, so let’s explore some of the most common questions about early cataract development and treatment.
What Causes Cataracts
Most people will eventually develop a cataract, but some cataracts form earlier or quicker. Certain environmental factors, health conditions and lifestyle habits can cause cataracts to form more rapidly. These include cigarette smoking, UV exposure, eye trauma, hypertension, diabetes, steroid use, or genetic predisposition to early cataracts.
How Do You Know If You Have Cataracts
Cataract development is a slow and progressive process. In fact, you probably won’t know you have a developing cataract until your ophthalmologist tells you. It may be years before the cataract begins to impair your vision and cause symptoms like double vision, blurred vision, muted colors, glares and halos.
When to Have Cataract Surgery
Over time, a cataract will impact your daily activities. You’ll find it difficult to drive at night, read street signs, decipher fine print, and do detailed crafts and hobbies like needlework. When cataracts affect your schedule or your independence, it’s time to talk to your ophthalmologist about scheduling cataract surgery.
Once your ophthalmologist determines that you’re a candidate, there’s no reason to put off the procedure. It’s time to make decisions about the type of intraocular lens (IOL) that would be best for your eye, and whether you should have traditional or laser-assisted surgery.
Benefits of Early Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery is truly a cure for cataracts, and many people can experience 20/20 vision again. It takes only about 15 minutes per eye, and most people can resume their normal activities within a few days. Cataract surgery improves quality of life, increases independence and reduces the risk of falls, hip fractures and automobile accidents (American Academy of Ophthalmology).
Talk to your ophthalmologist about whether you’re a candidate for cataract surgery. With over 3.6 million procedures performed each year, cataract surgery is one of the most common operations in the United States. Make an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam today.