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June is Cataract Awareness Month at eyecarecenter

June is Cataract Awareness Month, and eyecarecenter is celebrating the best way we know how: By providing crucial information on cataracts to educate our patients and help keep them informed about their eye health. This eye condition can rob you of your sight if you don’t receive proper treatment. Furthermore, cataracts are extremely common, and there’s a good chance you will experience them sometime during your lifetime. Read on to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for cataracts, and join us in sharing the gift of clear vision with everyone.

Understanding Cataracts: What Are They?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cataracts are the leading cause of blindness globally, accounting for over half of all cases. In the United States, nearly 25 million people over 40 are affected by cataracts. This condition can significantly impact quality of life, often requiring changes to daily routines due to impaired vision. Despite these challenges, there is hope.

Cataracts are not only common but also highly treatable. But first, it’s important to know what cataracts are and how people get them.

To comprehend how cataracts develop, it's helpful to understand a bit about eye anatomy. Inside your eye is a transparent, flexible lens that focuses light on the retina, creating images for your brain. This lens comprises collagen and proteins, with proteins being the primary component.

As we age, these proteins break down and clump together, causing the lens to become cloudy. Over time, this cloudiness increases, eventually obstructing vision. This process can make the pupils appear cloudy or milky. Once the vision is compromised, surgery is the only solution to restore clear vision.

So in essence, cataracts are actually a part of the natural aging process. Most people will develop cataracts this way with their chances of developing them continuing to increase after reaching the age of 40. However, there are other causes of cataracts to consider.

Causes of Cataracts

Beyond natural aging, several health conditions can accelerate cataract formation or lead to more severe cases. These include diabetes, prolonged steroid use, obesity, significant alcohol consumption, excessive sunlight exposure, smoking, previous eye surgeries or injuries, and genetic factors.

While complete prevention of cataracts is impossible, adopting healthy lifestyle habits such as a balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking or excessive drinking can significantly reduce the risk.

The Different Types of Cataracts

Cataracts can be classified into different types based on their location and the age at which they form. Here are the five most common types:

Nuclear Cataracts: Develop in the center of the lens, initially improving nearsighted vision but eventually impairing both near and distant vision. Over time, they may turn yellowish or brown, further reducing vision.

Cortical Cataracts: Form on the lens's edges, appearing as white streaks or wedges. They gradually spread towards the center, obstructing vision.

Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts: Form at the back of the lens, quickly impairing vision. These are common in patients with diabetes or people who have been prescribed steroids for inflammation.

Congenital Cataracts: Present at birth or develop in early childhood, often due to genetic factors, infections, or eye injuries. Early detection and removal are crucial to prevent visual development issues.

Secondary Cataracts: Complications from cataract surgery, where scar tissue causes the lens capsule to become cloudy. This condition is typically treated with a quick, outpatient laser procedure.

For more details on cataract types, their formation, and symptoms, visit our comprehensive cataract guide.

When to Consult an Eye Doctor About Cataracts

The truth is, it’s never too early to see your doctor about cataracts. They can help monitor the progress of your symptoms and recommend non-surgical treatments until your cataracts progress to a point where more intensive treatments may be necessary. How fast cataracts progress is different for everyone.

However, there are certain symptoms to watch for that indicate it’s time to consult an eye doctor for possible surgery:

  • Seeing colors as yellowish or faded

  • Poor color vision in general

  • Difficulty with night driving

  • Shadowing of your vision

  • Glare or halos around lights

  • Difficulty seeing in low light

If you experience any of these symptoms, contact eyecarecenter to schedule a consultation.

Cataract Treatment Options

Once cataracts fully develop, surgery is the only treatment option. During the procedure, the doctor makes a small incision on the part of your eye where the clear cornea meets the white A probe is used to break up the clouded natural lens and is vacuumed out. An artificial lens is inserted through the same small incision and will perform the identical job as your natural lens. Your cornea is sealed up, and the healing process begins. There are no shots or sutures, only a few eyedrops!

For more information on our surgical procedures, visit our Cataract Treatment page.

Schedule a Cataract Consultation at eyecarecenter

With Cataract Awareness Month in full swing, now is an ideal time to book a consultation. If you or a loved one experiences cataract symptoms, it’s important to seek professional care. Our experienced doctors use advanced diagnostic technologies to identify and treat cataracts effectively. We can create a treatment plan specifically designed to meet your needs.

With 42 locations across the state of North Carolina, eyecarecenter cataract specialists are only ever a call or click away. Find an eyecarecenter location near you and start your journey to clearer, healthier vision today!

Rocky Mount Sunset
Rocky Mount Sunset
High Point
Cary Barnes & Noble Plaza
Winston-Salem Downtown
Raleigh Downtown
North Wilkesboro
Elizabeth City
Charlotte - University City
Raleigh Crabtree
Charlotte - Carmel Rd
Winston-Salem Peters Creek
Charlotte South Boulevard
OBX Optix
Cary Crossroads Blvd.
New Bern
Jacksonville North
Jacksonville West
Winston-Salem Stratford
Winston-Salem Burke Mill
Owen Drive
Ramsey Street
Cross Creek Mall
Durham Consultant Place
Indian Trail
Rocky Mount Tiffany
Roanoke Rapids