A Clearer View

Latest treatment options and news about cataracts, dry eye syndrome and other eye care topics.

Cataract Awareness Month Highlights the Importance of Eye Exams

by Damion Wasylow 4 June 2022 10:58 AM

man having eye exam with optometrist
June is Cataract Awareness Month, a timely reminder of the importance of getting regular eye exams. An estimated 65.2 million people around the world have cataracts, a condition that requires surgery to correct. Regular comprehensive eye exams can help detect cataracts before symptoms are even present, allowing for early intervention and monitoring.

When Do Cataracts Develop?

Cataracts often begin to develop in middle age. Around the age of 40, proteins in the lens of your eye begin to break down and start clumping. This clumping creates a cloudy area on the lens, which is known as a cataract.

If left untreated, the cataract progresses and clouds more of the lens, severely affecting your vision. Not surprisingly, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the United States.

Although cataracts typically start forming around age 40, most people won’t notice symptoms until they reach age 60 or older.

Risk Factors for Cataracts

Multiple health and lifestyle factors can increase the risk of cataracts, including:

  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Living in an area with bad pollution
  • Family history of cataracts
  • Diabetes
  • Steroid use
  • Certain medications
  • Eye injuries or surgeries
  • Radiation treatment
  • Excessive UV exposure

Of course, aging in itself is a risk factor for cataracts, and one that cannot be avoided. Cataracts are very common among older adults. More than half of people over the age of 80 have cataracts.

Signs and Symptoms of Cataracts

The most common signs and symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Cloudy or blurred vision
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Faded colors
  • Artificial lights and sunlight appear to be too bright
  • Seeing double
  • Halos around lights
  • Frequent vision prescription changes

Cataracts do not typically cause pain, but they can cause discomfort due to increased light sensitivity.

How Often Should You Have an Eye Exam?

Many people don’t get eye exams as often as they should. You may be able to see clearly, but your vision quality is only one aspect of eye health. Many eye conditions do not have noticeable symptoms and can only be uncovered through comprehensive eye exams.

Exams can also uncover other undiagnosed health issues, such as diabetes or brain tumors.

Comprehensive eye exams are different from vision screenings. Vision screenings generally only test for visual acuity and correct vision problems. A comprehensive eye exam takes a closer look at your peripheral vision and pupillary response to pressure and eye muscle strength.

Generally, here’s how often you should get a comprehensive eye exam based on your age:

  • 20s to 30s: Every 5-10 years
  • 40s to mid-50s: Every 2-4 years
  • Mid-50s to mid-60s: Every 1-3 years
  • 65+ years of age: Every 1-2 years

If you have vision problems or a family history of cataracts or another eye disease, you may need comprehensive eye exams more frequently.

If you’re experiencing cataract symptoms, or if it’s just been too long since your last eye exam, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care at 352-373-4300 to schedule your appointment today.



Comments (0)

Blog Links