June is Cataract Awareness Month.
What do you know about Cataracts? Sure, checking your eye health is part of your annual eye exam, and that also includes checking your risk for developing eye diseases like cataracts. But what are they?
What is a Cataract?
A cataract is the clouding of the eye's lens. The lens, located behind the pupil, is normally clear and allows for light to pass into the retina. The lens is multi-purpose, the main job being allowing you to focus and see clearly. When it becomes cloudy from a cataract, vision can become blurry or dim, since less light is coming through.
Now that we know what a Cataract is and what it does to your vision, let's debunk a few myths.
Myth or Fact: Only Older Americans Develop Cataracts.
The exact cause is unknown, but often, a cataract is part of getting older, though it's not the only factor. Other risk factors include:
Intense heat or long-term exposure to UV rays from the sun
Certain diseases, such as diabetes
Inflammation in the eye
Events before birth, such as German measles in the mother
Long-term steroid use
While Cataracts affect 24 million Americans over the age of 40, age is not the only cause. Cataracts can also occur in young adults and children.
Myth or Fact: It Can Take Months to Recover from Cataract Surgery.
The good thing is, most of the time, a simple surgery can remove Cataracts and restore your vision. Just a few days after surgery, vision will be significantly better, and only improve overtime. Other health issues, like Glaucoma, can affect recovery time and vision quality after surgery.
Myth or Fact: Taking Vitamins Can Prevent Cataracts
It may be possible that a diet high in fruits and vegetables with Vitamin E, A, and C content may help prevent cataracts. Either way, eating more fruits and vegetables doesn't hurt! Some research centers are investigating the link between vitamin intake and cataract prevention, but the research is still out.
So, How Can I Prevent Cataracts?
Have an annual eye exam. Dr. Dave and Dr. Michelle can check your eye health and detect cataracts at the earliest stages.
Quit smoking and reduce alcohol use. Both have been shown to increase risk of cataracts.
Manage other health problems. If you have medical issues, take medications, or have a history of eye disease in your family, you might be at a higher risk of developing cataracts.
Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. Fruits and vegetables have many health benefits, and if their vitamin content can reduce your risk of cataracts, then adding them to your diet is a simple and tasty step you can take to prevent eye disease.
Wear sunglasses. UV light can increase your risk of cataracts. Wear sunglasses that block UV. Ask an optician for more information.