June Is Cataract Awareness Month

June Is Cataract Awareness Month

A man with black frame glasses reading an eye chart

Right now, more than 22.3 million Americans over the age of 40 are living with cataracts. As the leading cause of vision loss in the United States, cataracts are some of the most common ocular issues in the modern world.

Here's what you need to know about preventing, treating and coping with cataracts this June!

What Is A Cataract?

A cataract is a clouding in the lens of the eye, which blocks light from entering the eye. The eye's lens is located right behind the pupil and iris and is normally transparent. In a normal, unaffected eye, the lens helps focus images on the retina which then transmits those images to the brain. When the eye is affected by a cataract though, vision becomes blurry and dim because the cataract makes it impossible for light to pass through to the retina.

How Are Cataracts Treated?

While cataracts are very prevalent, they're also quite simple to treat. The solution to these disorders is a simple cataract surgery. During a surgery like this, a surgeon removes the eye's deteriorated lens and replaces it with an artificial lens, which is known as an intraocular lens, or IOL, for short.

The surgery is one of the most common in the U.S., with more than 3 million Americans electing to undergo it each year. An outpatient procedure, the surgery only lasts about 20 minutes and is relatively painless and safe. It has a success rate of 95 percent.

Can You Prevent Cataracts?

While there is no proven way to prevent cataracts that are related to age (most people don't show symptoms of cataracts until age 40 or older), taking good care of your eyes is a great way to slow the progression or development of cataracts. Here are a few eye care tips to live by now and in the future:

Wear Sunglasses. UV rays are some of the most harmful things for your eyes. With this in mind, wear high-quality sunglasses any time you go outside, even if it seems cloudy!

Eat An Eye-Healthy Diet. Eye-healthy diets include lots of leafy greens, salmon and oily fish, and citrus fruits and juices.

Stop Smoking. If you currently smoke, now is the time to stop. Smoking increases your risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, and quitting is a great way to keep your eyes healthy.

While there's no guaranteed prevention method for cataracts, these smart eye health tips can help keep your vision crystal clear for years to come.