Cataracts affect more than 24 million Americans every year. They are, in fact, not something that you can even prevent. They are more of an eventuality with aging.
While you can prevent early development, cataracts happen to everyone with age. Keep reading to learn about some of the warning signs!
Cataract Risk Factors
Aging is the primary risk factor behind cataracts. A significant increase in the rate of cataract development is seen in patients over the age of 40. Cataracts can develop at younger ages, though it’s less common.
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels in diabetics can also cause early cataract development.
If you have a family history with early cataract development, then you are at a higher risk for it as well. Cataracts seem to have a genetic component to them.
If you smoke, this can directly contribute to early cataract development. It also puts you at risk for other health and eye problems.
Past eye injury, inflammation, eye disease or surgery can trigger early cataract development. The use of steroid medication has been shown to increase the risk of cataract formation.
Unchecked exposure to sunlight without proper UV protection can cause cataracts to form. Exposure to other forms of radiation like frequent X-rays can also have an effect.
Occasionally, infants are born with cataracts.
If you experience any of these risk factors and experience these symptoms, you may have cataracts. These symptoms include:
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Increased light sensitivity or glare
- Frequent prescription changes
- Double vision
- Faded colors
- A yellow tint to your vision
- “Second sight” where your vision temporarily gets better but then worsens again
To find out for sure if you have cataracts, you need to attend a comprehensive eye examination.
During this appointment, you will be asked about your health history. You’ll also go over medications you are currently taking and any eyesight problems.
This is also a good time to discuss any past eye injuries. You’ll undergo a series of tests.
These tests will include refraction, a peripheral vision test, and eye evaluation.
Refraction tests your vision with different lenses to determine if your prescription has changed. The doctor will also likely test your visual acuity.
Peripheral vision testing determines how wide your range of view is. This is commonly tested by showing images or fingers in the four quadrants of a normal visual field. Your doctor will then check to see how well you see them.
A slit-lamp examination will be performed to get a close look at the outside parts of your eye as well as your lens. Specifically, they will be looking for a yellowing of the lens, as well as white, opaque patches.
You will also likely receive a dilated eye exam. During this exam, your eye doctor dilates your pupils with special drops. This allows a lot of light to enter your eye, allowing the doctor to easily see inside. Finally, your eye pressure will also be tested.
Think that you may have cataracts? Schedule a cataract screening at Frantz EyeCare in Fort Myers, FL today! There’s no time like the present to get back on the road to seeing clearly!