By Bernard Freeman
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 21 million Americans have some type of vision problems. One common issue are cataracts; more than half of the country will develop them by their 80th birthday. Those at a heightened risk include people with high blood pressure, diabetes or smokers.
A cataract is clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. According to the National Eye Institute, cataracts typically develop as the protein used to keep lenses clear tends to clump together as we get older. Since there are so many behaviors that may accelerate the condition, regular eye tests are crucial to protecting your vision.
Symptoms of a Cataract
There are many symptoms those with cataracts may notice. Here are a few common issues you may experience, as reported by the NEI.
- Cloudy or blurry vision.
- Lights from vehicles, lamps or the sun may appear too bright and create a halo around sources.
- Fading colors or double vision in a single eye.
If you have these symptoms or you have other concerns regarding your vision, an appointment with an eye-care professional will get you on the right path to a solution.
To discover if you are suffering from a cataract, there are a few eye exams your professional may administer. A common way a doctor will determine your vision levels is by using a chart you are likely familiar with. It is very useful in revealing how well you can see from various distances.
Another efficient way to discover a cataract is with a dilated eye exam. It typically includes a professional using eye drops to widen your pupils and use a special magnifying lens to perform an examination of important vision components like the retina and optic nerve. Some eye doctors will choose a procedure called a tonometry. This is performed by using an instrument to measure the pressure inside your eyes.
Whichever strategy your ophthalmologist chooses to analyze your risks, be sure to address any concerns you may have before the exam.
The National Eye Institute reports that about 90 percent of people who require an operation enjoy better vision afterward. It usually lasts less than an hour and is nearly painless.