You may notice that many elderly adults have a foggy or cloudy discoloration in one or both eyes. Most likely, this is the result of cataracts. Approximately 20% of adults over the age of 65 have one. The chance of developing one after your mid-seventies increases to 50%.
Cataracts are very common for elderly adults and can significantly interfere with their quality of life. However, cataracts are very successfully treated with outpatient surgery.
What Are Cataracts?
A cataract is a buildup of proteins that collects on the lens of the eye. When light passes without interruption to the retina, you are able to see things clearly and sharply. But when you have a cataract that blocks light from traveling through the lens to the retina, your vision gets blurry and dull.
• Cataracts start small and grow over time
• As cataracts grow, vision gets worse
• Cataracts can develop in one or both eyes
• Cataracts cannot spread from one eye to the other
There are three different kinds of cataracts:
• Nuclear cataracts. These grow in the center of the eye and cause double vision.
• Cortical cataracts. These affect the outer edges of the eye lens and cause glare.
• Posterior subcapsular cataracts. These develop at the back of the lens and affect your ability to read in daylight and may cause halos around lights at night.
What Causes Cataracts?
Aging is the most common cause of cataracts. Aging also causes a general loss of visual acuity (sharpness), but this is different from cataracts.
There are four specific types of cataracts that are categorized according to their respective causes. These include:
• Secondary cataracts. These may be the result of chronic illness (such as diabetes), surgery for other eye issues, or long-term corticosteroid use.
• Traumatic cataracts. These cataracts result from injury to the eye.
• Congenital cataracts. These cataracts are caused by genetic factors or a mother’s illness during pregnancy.
• Radiation cataracts. These cataracts result from exposure to ionizing radiation, such as that used in x-rays and radiation therapy for cancer.
Other factors can increase your risk of cataracts. These include:
• Excessive alcohol use
• High blood pressure
• Vitamin deficiencies
What Are the Signs of Cataracts?
When cataracts begin, they may not be noticeable. As proteins form as you age, cataracts grow and cover a greater portion of the lens, which may result in the following symptoms:
• Cloudy, blurry vision
• Difficulty seeing at night
• Sensitivity to bright lights and glare
• Dull or faded colors
• Double vision
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should consult an ophthalmologist or optometrist to determine if you have cataracts and how to treat them.
Treatment of Cataracts.
If your cataracts are small and do not interfere with daily activities, you may lower your risk of cataracts by making some lifestyle changes:
• Have frequent eye exams
• Stop smoking
• Wear sunglasses
• Maintain a healthy diet
If your cataracts are developed and affecting your daily activities, outpatient surgery may be necessary to have cataracts removed. Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States and has a 90% success rate of improving vision.
A home care service can help you or your elderly loved one to develop a healthy treatment plan to lower the risk of cataracts or when recovering from cataract surgery.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring a Caregiver in Deerfield, IL, call the caring staff at LifeCare Home Health & In-Home Services. Call (888) 606-4199 LifeCare serves all of the Chicago Metro Area.
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