June is Cataract Awareness Month. Did you know that more than 22.3 million Americans have cataracts? Cataracts are a leading cause of blindness among older adults in the United States. More than half of all Americans have cataracts by the time they reach 80 years old.
What is a cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens that blocks or alters the passage of light into the eye. Cataracts may cause your vision to become blurry or dim as the cataract stops light from correctly passing through to your retina.
There is no known cause for cataracts, as they typically develop with age. Several risk factors include:
- Exposure to intense heat or radiation
- Too much exposure to ultraviolet light
- Certain diseases, such as diabetes or metabolic disorders
- Hereditary influences
- Long-term steroid use
- Eye injuries or diseases
Cataracts do not cause pain or redness. Common symptoms include:
- Blurred vision or double vision, feeling as though there is a “film” over your eyes
- Lighting appears too dim or surprisingly strong
- Frequently changing eyeglass prescriptions but no improvement in vision
- A milky or yellowish spot in your pupil
If you notice any of these changes to your eyesight, tell your primary care physician or Landmark provider. Or, if you have an eye doctor, make an appointment to see them.