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What are the Risk Factors, Symptoms and Treatment Options for Cataracts?

The eye specialists at Berkeley Eye Center want everyone to have the best vision health possible. That’s why we’re supporting the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Prevent Blindness Texas, and others, in promoting June 2019 as Cataract Awareness Month.

Cataract Awareness Month is the perfect opportunity to spotlight a condition that results in vision impairment and vision loss for thousands of Americans each year.

Cataract Awareness Month

How Cataracts Affect Your Vision

A cataract is a medical condition in which the lens of the eye becomes clouded. For people with cataracts, it’s like looking through a fogged up or dirty window — things tend to look blurry or hazy, and colors look less vivid. Cataracts can also make the light from the sun, indoor lamps, or automobile headlights seem very bright or glaring.

Cataracts are one of the leading causes of vision impairment, vision loss, and blindness in the United States, affecting 24 million Americans over the age of 40. While most cataracts are related to aging, anyone can develop cataracts. In addition to age related cataracts there are “secondary” cataracts, caused by surgery or other eye problems; “traumatic” cataracts that result from an injury; “congenital” cataracts that develop in newborns and young children; and “radiation” cataracts, caused by exposure to radiation.

Are You At Risk for Developing Cataracts?

Being aware of the risk factors, symptoms, and treatment options for cataracts is the best way to preserve your vision, starting with regular eye exams to catch cataracts in their earliest and most treatable stages. If left untreated, cataracts will continue to get worse and visual acuity will become more impaired.

The causes of cataracts are unknown. However, eye doctors have identified several possible risk factors, including:

  • Aging
  • Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes
  • Eye Trauma
  • Family history
  • Prolonged exposure to sunlight/UV radiation
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Alcoholism
  • Prenatal medical conditions
  • Protracted use of corticosteroid medications
  • Cataract Symptoms to Look Out For

Cataracts don’t cause pain, redness or tears — the symptoms sneak up gradually. Some of the common symptoms of a cataract to look out for include:

  • Cloudy, blurry or dimmed vision
  • Milky or yellowish spots on your pupils
  • Poor night vision
  • Changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
  • Sensitivity to bright light and glare
  • Seeing “halos” around lights
  • Colors seem faded
  • Double vision or multiple images in one eye

These symptoms can also be indicative of other eye problems.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Cataracts

If you are experiencing any of the early symptoms of cataracts or other changes in vision, schedule a comprehensive eye exam at the nearest Berkeley Eye Center location — the earlier the better.

Visual acuity tests, dilated eye exams and tonometry to measure the pressure inside the eye are some of the exams performed by eye doctors to diagnose cataracts.

In many cases, people with cataracts are able to function normally with prescription glasses, contact lenses and other vision aids, such as brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses.

Currently, surgery is the safest and most effective way to remove cataracts. The good news is cataract removal is one of the most common and successful surgical procedures performed in the US; almost 90 percent of the people who have cataract surgery reported better vision after their procedure.

Can Cataracts Be Prevented?

There are currently no options to completely prevent the formation of cataracts. However, doctors recommend several strategies they believe can slow the progression of cataracts, including:

  • Get regular comprehensive eye exams
  • Quit smoking
  • Eat healthy, especially fruits and vegetables containing antioxidants
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses while out in the Sun
  • Reduce alcohol use
  • Keep your diabetes and other medical conditions under control

Contact Berkeley Eye Center for Cutting Edge Cataract Surgery

The best way to protect your vision is to have your eyes examined on a regular basis. An annual eye exam by a Berkeley Eye Center ophthalmologist can detect cataracts and other vision problems before you may be aware of them. The sooner you get treatment, the greater the chances of successfully reducing or preventing any cataract-related vision impairment and loss.

Don’t wait until your vision starts to become cloudy to get help. If it’s been a while since you’ve had your eyes looked at, call Berkeley Eye Center to schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained Houston eye doctors. With locations all over Houston and surrounding communities like Pearland, Katy, the Woodlands and Kingwood, there’s sure to be a Berkeley Eye Center of Houston close to you.