According to Prevent Blindness America, the founders of Cataract Awareness Month, it is estimated that over 22 million Americans age 40 and over have cataracts. Cataracts are the clouding of the natural lens of the eye which leads to decreased vision. Cataracts make vision comparable to looking through a foggy windshield and are the most common cause of blindness and are conventionally treated with surgery. Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed procedures in the United States and a recent study found that cataract surgery patients had significantly reduced rates of hip fractures due to falls. Cataract Awareness Month is a great time to learn more about cataracts and to remind yourself and loved ones to make an appointment with an eye doctor for a thorough examination. Cataracts generally do not cause pain, redness or tears. However, any of these changes in your vision may be a sign of a cataract:
- Lights seem too dim for reading or close-up work or you are overcome by strong light.
- You may sometimes notice the cataract in your eye as it may look like a milky or yellowish spot in the pupil of the eye.
- You change eyeglass prescriptions frequently and the change does not seem to improve your vision.
- You experience blurred vision, double vision, ghost images or the sense of a film over your eye.
Although getting a cataract is very common, it does not have to result in permanent vision loss if you protect your vision and make a commitment to take care of your eyes by getting a dilated eye examination. Not only will you be protecting your sight from cataracts, but other eye diseases as well.