August is Cataract Awareness Month, and that’s a good time for everyone to get acquainted with the dangers that a cataract can pose. A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye. Because the lens focuses light onto your retina, any blockage or distortion can result in diminished eyesight.
Cataracts develop gradually and usually (but not always) in older people. Congenital defects, inflammation, exposure to certain kinds of radiation, diabetes, and smoking can also contribute to cataract formation earlier in a person’s life.
The standard treatment is surgery to dissolve the clouded lens and then remove the fragments from the eye; doctors then insert an artificial lens to replace the old one. Because cataracts develop slowly and without pain, symptoms may not be obvious.
Check with your eye doctor if you start to notice these changes in your vision:
• Vision that’s cloudy, blurry or dim.
• More difficulty seeing at night.
• Heightened sensitivity to light.
• Seeing halos around lights.
• Colors seem faded, or yellowish.
• Double vision in one eye. Take care of those peepers!
Did you know?
Birds and reptiles have an extra membrane in their eyes that functions as a third eyelid. It’s called the plica semilunaris, and apparently humans have them too. It helps to drain tears and remove foreign objects from the eye.