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June is Cataract Awareness Month

June is Cataract Awareness Month. According to the National Institute of Health, over 24.4 million Americans over the age of 40 have cataracts and it is important to bring awareness to this serious condition.

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What are cataracts? Cataracts are a clouding or darkening that develops in the normally clear lens of the eye. They are most often found in people over the age of 55, but occasionally found in younger people, even newborns. Some symptoms of cataracts can include:

  • Increase in haziness causing blurred or distorted vision, often described as a film over the eye
  • Increased sensitivity to glare from lights, particularly when driving at night
  • Increase in need for more light to see clearly
  • Double vision
  • Change in eyeglass prescription or a stage where some individuals find it easier to see without glasses.

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In mild cases of cataracts, a combination of a different eyeglass prescription and better lighting in your home, office, or other environment can improve your vision. In more advanced cases, your optometrist will likely recommend cataract surgery to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear one. The new lens is called an implant or an intraocular lens. The American Academy of Ophthalmology states that over 3.7 million people undergo the procedure each year and it is usually done in an outpatient clinic. You can usually resume your normal activities in just a few days.

There are a few ways you can keep your eyes healthy and reduce your risks of developing cataracts. 

  1. Refrain from smoking and high alcohol consumption
  2. Exercise and eat well, including lots of fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants
  3. Protect your eyes from UV radiation from sunlight
  4. Control diabetes and hypertension

If you are experiencing any of these signs, talk to one of our optometrists. The sooner you seek treatment, the faster we can help you get back to clear vision. You can schedule online or call our office at 608-782-7127.

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