Cataracts are among the most common causes of age-related vision loss, affecting millions of Americans each year. Cataracts often start forming around 40 or 50 years old, though symptoms may not become apparent until around age 60. The average age for cataract surgery is 73. If you’re in your 60s and think you may be developing cataracts, learn more about this age-related vision loss and what treatments are available.
What are Cataracts?
Cataracts cause the lenses of your eyes to become cloudy or opaque. One or both eyes may be affected.
Aging is the most common cause of cataracts. As you get older, the water and protein in your eyes change, leading to clumping protein and a cloudy lens. There is also a genetic component, meaning you are more likely to develop cataracts if an immediate family member has them. Other less common causes include:
- Chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Overexposure to sunlight
- Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
- Steroid use
- Eye injuries
What are the Symptoms of Cataracts?
Cloudy lenses distort light as it enters the eyes, leading to these cataract symptoms:
- Blurred vision
- Dulled color vision
- Sensitivity to bright light
- Poor night vision
- Glare from the sun, headlights, and other light sources
- Double vision
Treating Cataracts with Surgery
Cataracts are not painful, so they often go unnoticed until your vision declines. That’s why it’s critical to schedule regular eye doctor visits, especially as you get older. Routine eye exams lead to an earlier diagnosis so you can begin treatment sooner.
In the early stages, wearing prescription eyeglasses can help improve vision. However, this progressive disease will continue to worsen until it affects your quality of life. At that point, your eye doctor may recommend cataract surgery.
This procedure involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial one called an intraocular lens (IOL). Different lenses are available based on your lifestyle and vision needs. Keep in mind that you may still need to wear glasses after having surgery to help with distance vision, up-close vision, or both.
Cataract surgery is effective and well-established, with around 10 million cataract surgeries performed each year worldwide. A vast majority of patients enjoy improved vision and quality of life after having this procedure.
Schedule a Cataract Screening at Snead Eye Group
While there’s no specific way to prevent cataracts, living a healthy lifestyle can keep your vision clear for as long as possible. In the meantime, continue to schedule regular eye exams to detect and treat cataracts and other vision problems. If you need a new eye doctor, Snead Eye Group would be happy to fill that role. Our vision specialists are ready to help you see clearly again with safe, effective cataract surgery! Call us at (239) 936-8686 to schedule a cataract screening. We have four convenient locations in Fort Myers, Naples, Bonita Springs, and Cape Coral, FL, to better serve you.