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Cataracts & You: Symptoms, Risk Factors, Treatments, & Prevention

Optometrist checking patient for cataracts

The National Coalition for Vision Health estimate that more than 2.5 million Canadians suffer from cataracts—increasing the need for routine eye care examinations with a qualified optometrist. Learn more about this common eye disease and understand your ability to fight back for clear vision.

What are Cataracts?

Each one of your eyes has a natural lens that sits directly behind the pupil. Along with your cornea, it is responsible for focusing the images on your retina. Over time, your lens begins to cloud as the proteins in the lens begin to change. Cataracts cannot spread from one eye to another, but they usually affect both eyes.

Cataracts are a natural effect of aging, but there are many ways to slow down their progression and treat them. Your first line of defense is always a visit to the optometrist. However, there are a few risk factors to consider.

Risk Factors for Cataracts

Cataract Symptoms

While you may not notice any visual change in their early stages, the progressive symptoms of cataracts are quite straight forward. As your cataracts get worse, your vision will become more blurry or cloudy, and you may experience more glare. Some cataracts only affect a small portion of the lens and may not exhibit symptoms, while more severe clouding will lead to blurred vision. Additional symptoms include:

Len Replacement Surgery

Cataracts can be treated using an intraocular lens implant designed to replace the natural lens within the eye. During this surgery, the natural lens is broken up with ultrasound waves. The small pieces are vacuumed out gently. The new lens, made of silicone or acrylic is inserted into place where your old lens used to sit. These new lenses can even be created with a prescription to help you see clearer than ever.

It is important to undergo an examination with your optometrist or optometry clinic to determine if cataract surgery using an intraocular lens is right for you.

Delaying Cataract Formation

There are steps you can take to delay cataracts. Protecting yourself from UV rays that cause the proteins in the lens of the eye to denature is the number one way to reduce your risk. Wear sunglasses when you are out in the sun, even through the winter and on overcast days as UV rays can break through the clouds to enter your eye.

Find out if you’re suffering from cataracts by setting up an eye exam with our optometrists at FYidoctors.  Our optometry clinics offer a number of eye wear options including prescription glasses and contact lenses.

Learn more about eating right to reduce your chance of cataracts in Healthy Eating for Cataracts. For added reading on protecting your eyes from the affects of sunlight, go to What Does Sun Exposure Do to Your Eyes?