Three Things Patients Should Know About Cataracts

Oregon Eye Specialists, PC and the American Academy of Ophthalmology share facts about the eye condition and the surgery used to treat it.

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Approximately 25 million Americans have cataracts, which causes cloudy, blurry or dim vision and often develops with advancing age. This month, Oregon Eye Specialists joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in observing Cataract Awareness Month by sharing three things everyone should know about the condition and its treatment. As everyone grows older, the lenses of their eyes thicken and become cloudier. Eventually, they may find it more difficult to read street signs. Colors may seem dull. These symptoms may signal cataracts, which affect about 70 percent of people by age 75. Fortunately, cataracts can be corrected with surgery. Ophthalmologists, physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care, perform around three million cataract surgeries each year to restore vision to those patients. The following are facts people should know about the condition.

1. Age isn’t the only risk factor for cataracts. Though most everyone will develop cataracts with age, recent studies show that lifestyle and behavior can influence when and how severely you develop cataracts. Diabetes, extensive exposure to sunlight, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and certain ethnicities have all been linked to increased risk of cataracts. Eye injuries, prior eye surgery and long-term use of steroid medication can also result in cataracts. If you have any of these or other risk factors, talk to an ophthalmologist.

2. Cataracts cannot be prevented, but you can lower your risk. Wearing UV-blocking sunglasses and brimmed hats when outside can help. Several studies suggest that eating more vitamin C-rich foods may delay how fast cataracts form. Also, avoid smoking cigarettes, which have been shown to increase the risk of cataract development.

3. Surgery may help improve more than just your vision. During the procedure, the natural clouded lens is replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens, which should improve your vision significantly. Patients have a variety of lenses to choose from, each with different benefits. Studies have shown that cataract surgery can improve quality of life and reduce the risk of falling. If cataracts are interfering with your ability to see well, consider asking your ophthalmologist about cataract surgery.

“Cataract surgery is the most common surgery performed on older adults around the world” says Devin Gattey, MD, President of Oregon Eye Specialists. “The highly skilled surgeons working in our clinics have performed tens of thousands of cataract surgeries collectively, and they have the wisdom to recommend whether surgery is right for an individual patient. Patient education prior to a cataract procedure is a vital component of the surgical journey, and our physicians will strive to provide you with clarity at every step,” says Gattey.

To learn more ways to keep your eyes healthy, visit the Oregon Eye Specialists Eye Health Blog or the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeSmart website.

About Oregon Eye Specialists, PC
Oregon Eye Specialists, PC is a 19-physician ophthalmology and optometry practice with six clinics throughout Oregon. Our providers are experienced in the full range of medical, surgical and vision eye care for all ages. Our entire team is dedicated to providing our patients with excellent service and personalized care.

About the American Academy of Ophthalmology
The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. A global community of 32,000 medical doctors, we protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public. We innovate to advance our profession and to ensure the delivery of the highest-quality eye care.