Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Dealing with Cataracts to Support Better Vision

Cataracts are a very common vision problem that occurs with aging. They can cause cloudiness or blurriness in your vision and colors may be distorted. Fortunately cataracts are treatable and can be corrected with surgery. Sometimes surgery is not even necessary if more conservative methods are beneficial. June is Cataract Awareness Month and a great time to brush up on the details of this common vision problem.

What are cataracts?

A cataract occurs when the eye’s lens becomes cloudy and interferes with vision. It often occurs due to a buildup of protein on the lens over time. Protein occurs naturally within the eye. However, other conditions can also contribute to cataracts such as injuries to the eye, diabetes, steroid use, genetics, smoking, or certain eye diseases. They can occur in people of all ages though are more common in the elderly.

What are the symptoms?

Some seniors have cataracts but experience few symptoms. Their vision may not be impacted very much and minor adjustments can help them cope. Others may realize that images are blurrier or look cloudy or they have double vision. Colors may be distorted or not as vibrant as they once were. Some seniors experience sensitivity to bright lights and have trouble driving at night because of the glare from other drivers’ headlights. Another sign to watch for is frequent changes in the prescription for their glasses because their vision gets better and worse.

How are cataracts treated?

Some seniors benefit from glasses or using other vision aids such as magnifiers. They may be able to make small adjustments in how they do certain activities to accommodate for minor vision impairments. If their vision gets worse and it gets more difficult to carry out daily activities, surgery may be an option.
In cataract surgery, the surgeon will remove the clouded lens and replace it with a clear plastic intraocular lens. This new lens can improve their vision significantly. Light is able to pass easily through the lens and onto the retina and images become clearer and more focused.

Can cataracts be prevented?

While cataracts may not be able to be entirely prevented, there are steps you can take to reduce risk such as protecting the eyes when outside by wearing sunglasses or a wide-brimmed hat, eating a healthy diet rich in antioxidants, and having regular eye exams to check for problems.

Living with Cataracts

Unless a cataract is seriously impairing vision, some seniors choose to simply live with them and make adjustments. They are monitored by their eye doctor to detect any changes and help prevent them from becoming more severe. Should they need surgery at a later time, their doctor can recommend it. Having an in-home caregiver can help seniors with activities of daily living and support them in remaining more independent while staying safe. Always Best Care of Asheville-Hendersonville offers personalized care to meet each individual’s needs and provide the level of care they need. To find out more about how your loved one could benefit from assistance, call (828) 989-7263 or visit us online and schedule a consultation today.

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