What is a cataract? Did you know that cataracts affect more than 22 million Americans over the age of 40 and is the main cause of blindness throughout the world?
A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which is located behind the iris and the pupil. There are three types of cataracts:
● Subcapsular Cataract | This cataract occurs at the back of the lens. Diabetes and steroid medications can cause subcapsular cataracts.
● Nuclear Cataract | This cataract is located in the central zone (nucleus) of the lens. Aging is the main cause of nuclear cataracts.
● Cortical Cataract | This cataract is white with opacities that begin in the periphery of the lens and move toward the center of the eye. You will find cortical cataracts in the lens cortex, which surrounds the central nucleus.
The lens of the eye is made up of water and protein. Normally, the protein keeps the lens clear and allows light to pass through. As we get older, the protein begins to group together. These clumps of protein form cataracts, clouding the eye and making seeing difficult. If you notice your vision begins to be slightly blurred or that light seems brighter and colors seem duller, you might have cataracts forming in your eye.
There are several factors that can increase your chances of developing this eye condition:
● Use of corticosteroids over a period of time
● Ultraviolet Radiation from Sunlight
● Family History
● And more…
At the beginning, new glasses or other visual aids can improve your vision. As your condition worsens, cataract surgery has a high success rate in restoring vision. This procedure is a simple and relatively painless and it is one of the most frequently performed surgeries in the United States. Surgery requires removing your clouded lens and usually replacing it with a clear, plastic intraocular lens (IOL).
The best way to delay the onset of cataracts is to protect your eyes from ultraviolet radiation with the use glasses or quality sunglasses that have UV blocking properties. Cheap sunglasses can do more harm than good because they allow UV through but cause the pupil to open by blocking visible light. Because the effects of UV are cumulative, the younger you begin wearing glasses or sunglasses outside, the more effective they are. There are studies that suggest nutrients and nutritional supplements can also reduce your risk of cataracts. It is believed that vitamin E and antioxidant vitamins including vitamin C can improve your eye health. Quit smoking and reducing your alcohol intake can also greatly reduce your chance of developing cataracts.
If you begin to suffer from these symptoms, it is important to make an appointment with an eye professional. Bayside Vision Center is accepting new patients-- call 850.729.8711 to schedule a check-up today.
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