Cataracts are Common, but Highly Treatable

Are you suffering from cataracts? If the answer is, “Yes,” you’re not alone. Cataracts affect more than 20.5 million adults in the United States, and are a natural part of the aging process. In fact, more than 90 percent of Americans will develop cataracts by the time they’re 65 years old. And while older adults are most susceptible to cataracts, younger adults who have diabetes or who have experienced a severe eye injury can also develop cataracts.

Cataracts are caused by a build-up of protein on the lens of one’s eye. As we age, protein clumps together, making it progressively harder to see clearly. The blurry vision that is often caused by cataracts may begin as a mere nuisance, but it can grow increasingly severe until it impacts your ability to perform everyday tasks like driving, reading, and even walking long distances. That said, this change typically occurs gradually, and many people are unaware they have cataracts until their night vision becomes impaired or they’re unable to identify specific colors.

Types of Cataracts

Cataracts can come in three forms:

  • Nuclear schlerotic cataracts have a brown hue and grow in the center of the lens.
  • Cortical cataracts begin developing on the rim of the lens and work their way toward the center of the eye.
  • Posterior subcapsular cataracts form on the back of the lens.

All three types of cataracts cause blurry vision, making it difficult to accomplish daily tasks. While nuclear schlerotic cataracts are the most common type of cataracts, posterior subcapsular cataracts often develop faster than their nuclear and cortical counterparts. Posterior subcapsular cataracts are also responsible for two common cataract symptoms: glare from bright lights and “halos” appearing around objects at night.

Treatment for Cataracts

Cataracts don’t have to impair your quality of life. Cataract surgery is a common, minimally invasive procedure that typically takes only 10-25 minutes to complete. In fact, nearly four million cataract surgeries are performed each year in the U.S. alone.

During this procedure, an eye care professional replaces a patient’s clouded natural lens with an artificial lens. Patients have a choice of several types of replacement lenses, including multifocal lenses (also known as lifestyle lenses). These lenses provide clear vision at a variety of distances, and can even eliminate a patient’s need to wear glasses. A multifocal lens is a great option to consider if you’re someone who spends a lot of time at a computer or doing other activities that require close-range focus.

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