Cataract Awareness Month

Happy Cataract Awareness Month! May is now the month for educating our families and communities about the world’s leading cause of vision loss. You have probably heard of cataracts, but would you be able to define or explain a cataract if someone asked you?

Sometimes, it’s best to use an analogy. Think of your eye as a camera. Like a camera, your eye needs a lens to focus. Your lens is made up of just the right combination of water and protein to allow for light to pass through it. Over the years, the protein may accumulate in certain areas and cloud the lens. This cloudy spot is called a cataract. Progressively, the cataract will grow bigger and cause increased distortion of your vision until, if left untreated, it will make you go blind. The good thing is, cataract-related vision loss is always reversible.

What can you do to celebrate Cataract Awareness Month? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Get a comprehensive eye exam. Nothing can replace the value of a comprehensive eye exam. Talk to your eye care specialist to find out how often you should schedule these regular check-ups. Your doctor will not just assess whether you need corrective lenses but will screen you for eye diseases and conditions.
  2. Talk to your loved ones about degenerative eye disease. Cataracts cause more vision loss than any other eye disease, but glaucoma and macular degeneration are also leading causes of blindness. So discuss the symptoms and warning signs of all three conditions.
  3. Ask questions. Talk to your eye care specialist about how diet, exercise and other lifestyle choices can help you prevent cataracts. Your doctor is there to help you so use him or her as a resource.
  4. Schedule cataract surgery. There is no reason to wait longer to remove a cataract that is growing. According to the May Clinic, the average age for cataract surgery is lowering. This could be a result of the average life expectancy increasing and the fact that mature adults want to retain their independence.

Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed today, and it has a high success rate. Intraocular lenses (IOLs) can be custom made for your eye prescription, and this means two things: clear vision and the possibility of not depending on your eyeglasses as much. Don’t delay surgery until your vision is really bad. Live life the fullest so you can enjoy reading, traveling, gardening, driving, and sports. Cataract surgery will allow you to do all these things and, most importantly, see the precious faces of the ones you love.