Contact a licensed professional for vision-care assistance
Cataracts are the world’s leading cause of blindness, but this common condition can be treated with help from a licensed eye-health professional.
CAUSES OF CATARACT
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a cataract is a clouding of the lens in your eye, which negatively affects your vision. Cataracts are very common in older people: By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. However, cataracts can affect younger adults and even children as well.
Cataracts are caused by the breakdown of proteins in the lens of your eye. Most cataracts happen because of age-related changes in your eye, but other issues can make them form faster, including:
- Drinking too much alcohol.
- Spending too much time in the sun without sunglasses.
- Serious eye injury.
- Eye surgery to treat glaucoma or another eye condition.
- Taking steroids for a long time.
- Radiation treatment for cancer and other health conditions.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
A cataract can occur in either or both eyes, but the condition can’t spread from one eye to the other. Common symptoms to watch for are:
- Blurry vision.
- Colors that seem faded.
- Glare or haloes around lamps or sunlight.
- Not being able to see well at night.
- Double vision.
- Frequent prescription changes in your eye-wear.
Cataracts usually develop slowly, and new glasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses can help at first. Surgery is also an option to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial lens. Wearing sunglasses and a hat with a brim to block ultraviolet sunlight may help to delay cataracts.
CHECK WITH AN EYE-CARE PROFESSIONAL
NIH notes that, by 2050, the number of Americans with cataract is expected to double from 24.4 million to about 50 million. So if you are one of the many affected by cataract, or if you start experiencing vision problems, contact a Department of Consumer Affairs licensee right away for assistance: California State Board of Optometry licensees focus on vision care and services, the Medical Board of California licenses ophthalmologists, plus Osteopathic Medical Board of California licensees can specialize in ophthalmology and vision-care services. To check a professional’s license, visit search.dca.ca.gov.