Are you an adult in your 50s who has begun to notice signs of visual blurriness? Is this blurriness worse at night and sometimes accompanied by the appearance of halos around bright lights? Chances are, you're developing cataracts. They become more likely as you age, as most people begin showing symptoms when they're in their 50s. Here's a closer look at cataracts and what you need to know as a potential patient with this condition.
What are cataracts?
Cataracts happen when the proteins in the lens of your eye begin to distort. This distortion causes your lens to appear cloudy when it really should appear clear. As the protein changes are brought on by environmental exposure, UV rays, and age-related DNA changes, cataracts usually occur in older adults who have been exposed to these things for many years. The resulting cloudy lens makes your vision become blurry. You may first notice this blurriness at night, but it will eventually become noticeable in the daytime, too.
Will cataracts make you blind?
If left untreated, cataracts will eventually leave you nearly blind -- or with very limited visual acuity. Thankfully, cataracts are easily treated surgically, so almost nobody actually goes fully blind from cataracts. It takes cataracts years to develop to the point of causing blindness, so your eye doctor will likely recommend monitoring your symptoms and then performing cataract surgery when your blurry vision starts to seriously impact your daily life.
How can you make living with cataracts easier?
Many people with cataracts eventually need a stronger glasses prescription to see more clearly. However, after you have your cataracts surgically removed, you'll be able to get by with a much weaker prescription again.
Getting plenty of rest, avoiding spending too much time staring at the screen, and always wearing your glasses will help keep your eyes from getting too tired, which may make the blurriness less pronounced -- at least in the beginning. It's a good idea to avoid driving at night when you have cataracts, as the halos around lights may make it hard to see. Though there is no way to reverse cataracts, avoiding UV exposure (wear your sunglasses) and eating an antioxidant-rich diet may help slow their progression.
If you're a 50-something whose vision is getting increasingly blurry, contact an eye doctor like Jeffrey C. Fogt, OD for an appointment, They'll be able to tell you within a few minutes whether or not you're developing cataracts.