This month is Cataract Awareness Month, a common eye problem that affects aging adults and seniors. A cataract is the clouding of the crystalline lens in the eye that leads to foggy vision, making it hard to perform everyday tasks. Cataracts are the number one cause of vision loss among seniors and affect more than 50% of adults over the age of 65 in varying degrees. This can become a serious condition as seniors with poor vision have been linked to premature mental decline. Luckily the solution is a relatively simple surgery that has a high success rate.
Seniors are most commonly affected by cataracts, however, injury or genetic disorders can result in them developing at an earlier age. At first, symptoms can be hard to diagnose as only a small part of the lens is affected. However, over time the cloudiness will grow and become more noticeable. Symptoms include: sensitivity to light, clouded or blurred vision, difficulty seeing in low light, seeing ‘halos’, double vision and fading of colors. Regular check-ups with an ophthalmologist can identify cataracts early on and help you determine the appropriate next steps to treat them. If cataract surgery is imminent, there is an outpatient procedure that involves replacing the clouded lens with a plastic implant.
In honor of Cataract Awareness Month, EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, is providing free eye exams to seniors over 65-years-old. Visit www.eyecareamerica.org to see whether you are eligible for the free care.