More than 22 million Americans over the age of 40 have been diagnosed with cataract disease, the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world. An additional eight million people will be diagnosed by 2020.
What do cataracts look like?
In a healthy eye, the lens is transparent, allowing light to pass through and create a sharp image on your retina, which sends that image to the brain allowing you to “see”. Cataracts cause the lens of your eye to literally cloud (spots appear hazy or foggy), distorting the light reaching your retina, causing:
- Blurry vision
- Excess glare
- Double vision
- Trouble seeing at night
Will cataracts make you blind?
Changes in your vision may not be noticeable at first, but if left untreated, this degenerative eye disease may cause blindness.
Can cataracts be prevented?
The exact cause of a cataract is unknown. Medical professionals do know that most cataracts are caused by age-related changes. However, there are several risk factors for cataracts, including:
- UV exposure
- Alcohol abuse
According to the American Optometric Association, it’s important to have regular, comprehensive eye exams. While cataract surgery can help restore vision, the key to preventing vision loss in the first place is getting a regular eye exam.
How do I know if I have cataracts?
An annual comprehensive eye exam with your eye doctor can help detect cataract disease early, before it progresses. If you don’t have insurance, consider a VSP Individual Vision Plan. It’s insurance you can buy on your own, and it covers everything you’d expect from a vision plan: an eye exam, frames, lenses and more.
This is a guest post written by VSP employee Chris Neuschafer.
Disclaimer: Information received through VSP Vision Care’s blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.