June is Cataract Awareness Month. During this important time, people living with cataracts (and their loved ones) are encouraged to talk about their personal experiences by giving helpful information and sharing their knowledge and advice. Use the hashtag #CataractAwarenessMonth on your social media channels to encourage and support others.
Did you know that more than 3.5 million Canadians have reduced vision from cataracts, making it one of the most common – and potentially serious – eye conditions today. Dr. Howard Dolman treats cataract patients from all over New Hamburg, Ontario with the newest and most effective methods of eye care.
With millions of people living with cataracts, it’s now more important than ever to bring awareness to this serious condition.
So what exactly are cataracts?
The lens of the eye is normally clear, which allows you to see with sharp detail. Over time, the lens can become cloudy, causing blurry vision. It’s as if you’re looking through a dirty window and can’t see the fine detail of what's outside. This clouding of the lens is called a cataract, and it will ultimately affect both of your eyes.
What Causes Cataracts?
Aging is the most common cause of cataracts. The lens of your eye contains water and proteins. As you age, these proteins can clump together, and when that happens, the normally clear lens becomes cloudy.
Did you know that certain types of major eye surgeries and infections can trigger cataracts? Other issues that can lead to cataracts include congenital birth defects, eye injury, diseases, and even various kinds of medications. And years of exposure to UV rays from the sun can also make cataracts develop faster.
How Can I Lower My Risk of Cataracts?
Certain risk factors increase your chance of developing cataracts. These typically include:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Family and medical history
- Certain medications
- UV ray exposure
To lower your risk, consider reducing your alcohol intake, quit smoking, start an exercise program, eat foods rich in vitamin A and C, and wear 100% UV blocking sunglasses.
Common Symptoms of Cataracts
As your cataracts develop, you may experience some common symptoms like:
- Blurry vision
- Colours that used to be bright now appear dim
- Double vision
- Glare from natural sunlight or from artificial light, like light bulbs and lamps
- Halos around lights
- Night vision problems
- Sensitivity to light
If you or a family member notice any of these signs, talk to Dr. Howard Dolman right away. The sooner you seek treatment, the faster we can help you get back to clear vision.
Coping With Cataracts
If you’re experiencing vision problems from cataracts, there is hope. If you have a mild case, a combination of a different eyeglass prescription and better lighting in your home, office, or other environment can improve your vision. In more advanced cases, your optometrist will likely recommend a consult with a cataract surgeon to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear one.
Do I Need Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is one of the most common procedures today. In fact, the American Academy of Ophthalmology estimates that 2 million people undergo the procedure each year.
During the procedure, the ophthalmologist will gently remove the cataract from the eye and replace it with an artificial intraocular lens (known as an IOL). Because it’s a common procedure, cataract surgery is usually performed in an outpatient clinic or in your eye surgeon’s office. There is no need to stay in a hospital and you can usually resume your normal activities in just a few days.
If you’ve exhausted every other solution and still suffer from blurry vision from cataracts, surgery may be an option. Schedule a consultation online or call 226-240-2690 to book an appointment at Dolman Eyecare Centre and together, we’ll determine the extent of your cataracts and if cataract surgery is right for you.
During Cataract Awareness Month, share your stories and successes, and give hope for a healthy and high quality of life.