WHAT ARE CATARACTS?
Cataracts are opaque areas on the eye’s lens that cloud vision.
An estimated 95 percent of people over age 65 have some degree of cataracts. If a cataract starts causing enough vision loss to interfere with daily activities, it can be surgically removed and an artificial lens implanted, usually resulting in significant improvement of vision.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CATARACTS?
Blurred or cloudy vision is the most common symptom of cataracts. Impaired night vision, sensitivity to bright lights, faded colors and double vision may also occur.
WHAT CAUSES CATARACTS?
The lens is a transparent layer of the eye behind the pupil that focuses light and images onto the retina at the back of eye.
The lens is made up of water and proteins. As we age, the proteins can deteriorate and clump together, causing cloudiness that reduces the amount light able to pass through to the retina. This leads to blurred vision, initially in a small area but growing over time if left untreated.
Aging is the main risk factor for cataracts. You may be at higher risk if:
- Someone in your family developed cataracts
- You have diabetes or hypertension, or are obese
- You smoke
- Your eyes have been extensively exposed to ultraviolet light from the sun
Lifestyle changes and reduction in sun exposure can slow the progression of cataracts.
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR CATARACTS?
Lens-replacement surgery is an effective and commonly used treatment for cataracts. For those with early-stage cataracts, glasses or contact lenses may provide sufficient vision improvement, along with brighter lighting at home and larger print for reading.
Treatment may depend on your specific type of cataracts:
- Secondary cataracts form after surgery for other eye problems or health issues.
- Traumatic cataracts may develop after an eye injury.
- Congenital cataracts occur at birth or develop in childhood.
- Radiation cataracts can develop after exposure to certain types of radiation.
Losing vision doesn’t mean giving up on your life activities, it just means learning new ways to do them.
Braille Institute’s FREE Low Vision Rehabilitation Service includes personalized one-on-one appointments with Low Vision Specialists that will work with you to maximize your remaining vision by:
- Assessing your particular needs
- Providing practical tips on lighting, contrast enhancement and glare control
- Exploring devices that can help you accomplish everyday tasks like reading, watching TV, and more
In addition to appointments with Low Vision Specialists, Braille Institute’s regional centers offer a variety of programs and services for the blind and visually impaired including Independent Living Skills classes, Orientation & Mobility training, one-on-one technology classes, audio and braille books, and much more.
To learn more or to schedule a FREE one-on-one appointment with one of our Low Vision Specialists, call 1-800-BRAILLE (272-4553).