A cataract is a clouding on the eye lens that can make it difficult to see clearly. The lens is typically clear, but sometimes a film forms over the eye. Cataracts usually develop gradually and do not affect eyesight in the early stages. Over time, cataracts interfere with vision. Eyeglasses and better lighting can help initially, but with time, surgery may be necessary to remove cataracts.
Cataracts occur when injury or aging causes the eye lens tissue to change. The lens becomes thicker and less flexible as people age. It is also less transparent as the fibers and proteins in the lens start to break down. This causes cloudy or hazy vision.
Genetic disorders and other health conditions can increase the risk of developing cataracts. They can also occur due to past eye surgery or long-term use of certain steroid medications.
Some symptoms can indicate you have cataracts. They include:
Blurry or clouded vision
Sensitivity to glare and light
Difficulty with night vision
Seeing halos around lights
Need for brighter lighting when performing close tasks
Frequent changes in lens or eyeglass prescriptions
Yellowing or fading colors
Some factors can increase the risk of developing cataracts. They include aging, diabetes, prolonged exposure to sunlight, high blood pressure, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking. People with previous eye inflammation or injury have an increased risk of developing cataracts. Using corticosteroid medications over a long period can also increase the risk.
It may not be possible to prevent cataracts, but there are things you can do to reduce the risk of development. They include:
Scheduling regular eye exams
Managing health conditions such as diabetes
Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables
Maintaining a healthy weight
Wearing sunglasses when outdoors
Reducing alcohol consumption
Cataracts can interfere with daily activities and can lead to vision loss if left untreated.
In the early stages, the cataract may only affect a small part of the lens, leaving most people unable to notice vision changes. As the cataract grows and covers more of the lens, symptoms become more apparent. If you notice changes in your vision, visit your eye specialist at Shalimar Eye Care immediately.
An exam will help determine if you have cataracts. While some cataracts may stop growing at some point, they do not become smaller. Surgery is the only effective way to get rid of cataracts. Surgical removal is a common and effective procedure.
Making changes in your lifestyle can help protect your vision and eye health. Regular eye exams are the best way to detect cataracts. If you have a high risk of developing an eye condition, the doctor can monitor your eyes during the visits. The doctor can also recommend the best schedule for eye exams, depending on your risk factor.
For more on little changes that make a big difference with cataracts, visit Shalimar Eye Care at our Shalimar, Florida office. Call (850) 972-1600 to schedule an appointment today.