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Cataracts

Even when the rain is gone, can you still not see clearly? If so, you may be experiencing symptoms of cataracts. Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States and are typically associated with aging; the good news is that they are treatable. The lens of the eye is normally clear. If the lens becomes cloudy, the condition is known as a cataract.

Cataracts develop slowly and painlessly, and vision in the affected eye or eyes slowly gets worse. Most people develop clouding of the lens after age 60. About 50 percent of people aged 65-74 and about 70 percent of those 75 and older, have cataracts that affect their vision.

Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Being sensitive to glare
  • Cloudy, fuzzy, foggy, or filmy vision
  • Loss of color intensity
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass prescription
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Decreased contrast sensitivity (the ability to see shades, or shapes against a background)

Cataracts are generally associated with aging; however other factors that may contribute are low serum calcium levels, diabetes, long-term use of corticosteroids, and various inflammatory and metabolic disorders. Environmental factors include trauma, radiation exposure, and too much exposure to ultraviolet light (sunlight). A standard eye exam can determine whether you have developed cataracts. The only treatment for cataracts is surgery to remove them.

To reduce your risk of developing cataracts:

  • Have regular eye exams that help detect problems in early stages
  • Quit smoking
  • Wear sunglasses to protect eyes from ultraviolet light
  • Take care of other health problems that may increase your risk, such as diabetes
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Choose a diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables

This information was provided by the CDC and The National Institutes of Health. For more information on simple tips for eye health please visit https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/basic_information/eye_health_tips.htm.

Article provided by Stephanie Monger, Intern from James Madison University working with Dana Breeding, RN Health Educator of Community Wellness at Augusta Health. To contact Dana Breeding, RN related to the information above, please call (540) 332-4988 or (540) 932-4988.