Nearly half of all senior citizens in the U.S. have developed or will develop cataracts by the age of 80. This represents an astounding number of people across the nation have a vision impairment that they might not even be aware of. Because cataracts tend to develop very gradually over time, many seniors are unaware that they have this condition unless they have been diagnosed by an eye doctor. Here are a few things seniors should be aware of when it comes to cataracts:
Always Use Sun Protection for Your Eyes
Prolonged sun exposure has been shown to contribute to the development of cataracts over time. It’s important that whenever driving or outdoors, proper UV protection is worn to keep eyes protected.
Regular Eye Visits are a Necessity
A cataract is basically a clouding of the eye lens that prevents light from entering, therefore impairing your vision more and more as the clouding of the lens becomes denser. The clouding of the eye lens is usually a very gradual process, which prevents those who are developing cataracts from experience a sudden change in decreased vision. It’s advised that seniors over the age of 70 visit their eye doctor on a yearly basis so he or she can properly diagnose any vision conditions that need attention. Regular visits to the eye doctor can prevent your vision from becoming so unnoticeably impaired that it becomes a health hazard in your everyday life.
Cataracts Don’t Have to be Permanent
The technology used in cataract surgery has come a long way in the past 30 years. What used to be an extremely painful surgery that required weeks of recovery time is now a simple outpatient procedure that can allow the patient to see better within just a few days. During a cataract procedure, an ophthalmologist uses laser technology and small incisions in the eye to break up and remove the clouded lens of the eye, replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). Depending on the type of artificial lens that implanted, the patient may be able to enjoy near-perfect vision for the rest of their life. Certain lenses are designed for either close-up or long distance vision, but other “multifocal” lenses are designed for near-perfect close-up and long distance vision. Thanks to new cataract technology, seniors may not have to worry about using glasses or magnifying glasses ever again after cataract surgery.
Author Bio: Erika Potter is a freelance writer for Davis Vision Center, one of the lading providers of LASIK and cataract surgery in Utah.