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Cataract Awareness Month

Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States and the leading cause of blindness worldwide. It is a common condition among older adults. In fact, according to the National Eye Institute, more than half of Americans age 80 or older have cataracts or have had surgery to remove them.


What are Cataracts?


Cataract is a clouding of the eyes lens that begins around the age of 40. It occurs over time when proteins in the eye lens break down and clump, forming a cloudy area. It may be not be noticeable at first, but overtime it can cause vision to be blurry, hazy, or less colorful. As a result, it can lead to vision loss, making it difficult to complete everyday tasks. It is possible to have cataracts in one or both eyes. Cataracts cannot spread from one eye to the other, however.


Risk Factors


Risk factors that may contribute to the fast progression of cataracts include excessive exposure to sunlight, smoking, and long-term use of steroid medication. Other risk factors include medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and previous eye injuries.


Prevention


Not much can be done to prevent the natural progression of cataracts; however, there are a few things that may help to delay its progression. For example, maintaining a diet high in Vitamin C rich foods is suggested. This includes citrus fruits such as oranges, lemon, kiwi, and grapefruit and vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower. In addition to maintaining a healthy diet, all asymptomatic adults age 40 should receive a comprehensive eye exam to begin screening for cataracts. Surgery can remove cataracts.


June is Cataract Awareness Month. Be sure to get screened for cataracts as well as other common eye conditions.



Sources:

https://www.med.unc.edu/ophth/2023/06/june-is-cataracts-awareness-month/#:~:text=June%20is%20Cataracts%20Awareness%20Month.,a%20cloudy%20area%20over%20time.

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