Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness and the most common cause of vision loss in people over 40. Worldwide, there are more cases of cataracts than glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy combined.
Here are 10 little-known facts about cataracts:
- A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye and it develops when proteins in the lens clump together.
- Cataracts affect 1 in 6 Americans over the age of 40.
- By the time they are 70, over half of Americans have cataracts.
- Cataracts can be caused by factors such as ultraviolet radiation (sun exposure), obesity, smoking, eye injury, high myopia, steroid medications and family history.
- The three types of cataracts are subscapular, nuclear & cortical.
- Common symptoms of cataracts include blurred vision, double vision, increased glare, appearance of halos around lit objects and faded appearance of colors.
- Cataract-related vision loss is reversible with cataract surgery.
- Cataract surgery is one of the safest & most common surgeries in the United States.
- During cataract surgery, the deteriorated lens is removed and replaced with a customized, artificial prescription lens called an intraocular lens (IOL).
- Nine of of ten patients who have cataract surgery regain 20/20 to 20/40 vision.
Cataracts can be diagnosed at a comprehensive eye exam. Talk to your eye doctor about when you should have your cataracts removed and what type of IOL will enhance your vision. Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure that can be performed at an ambulatory surgery center, and you can resume your normal activities within a day or two. Don't delay in making an appointment for an eye exam.