Understanding eye cataracts

June is Cataract Awareness Month

Too many people close their eyes to the importance of good vision. Your eyes are your window to the world. They let you experience the beauty of life all around you. Unfortunately, if that window gets cloudy or foggy, everything looks fuzzy and details become obscured. This is what life is like with cataracts. In an effort to clear up any confusion about cataracts, June is recognized as Cataract Awareness Month, helping to shed light on the common eye condition for sufferers, caregivers, and all aging adults who may develop them. So, take a closer look at cataracts and the goals of Cataract Awareness Month, along with the risk factors, symptoms, and sight-saving treatments to help you better understand cataracts in the blink of an eye.

Insight on cataracts

Inside of your eye, there is a natural lens that allows you to see. That lens is usually clear, allowing you to focus on everything around you. A cataract is simply a cloud that forms over this lens. It makes everything seem blurry and can make you feel like you’re looking at life through a foggy or dusty window. Cataracts are a common part of aging, with more than half of Americans age 80 or older either having cataracts or having undergone cataract surgery to get rid of them. If cataracts are left untreated, they can lead to more vision problems and eventually cause blindness. In fact, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide, but treatment can restore your vision and your quality of life.

Set your sights on Cataract Awareness Month

During the month of June, cataracts are the focus. It’s a time to take a look at cataracts and the importance of early detection and treatment. The month is a moment to educate others—especially all sufferers and aging adults at risk—about cataracts and the need for regular eye exams. The goal is to help everyone understand that detecting and treating cataracts can save your sight.

Open your eyes to your risk

Cataracts can appear at any age and stage of life, but your risk increases with age. See, cataracts are caused by normal eye changes that tend to start after age 40. These changes continue through your 50s, but are typically not noticeable until after age 60. While age is the greatest risk factor for cataracts, it’s not the only one. There are many traits, habits, and conditions that can affect the development of cataracts, including:

  • Age
  • Too much sun exposure, especially without eye protection
  • A family history of cataracts
  • Medical conditions like diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • History of eye surgery, an eye injury, or radiation treatments
  • Certain steroid medications
  • Smoking

Watch out for signs of cataracts

As cataracts slowly develop, you may not see any symptoms at all. However, as cataracts grow over time and cloud more of the lens of your eye, they’ll begin affecting your vision in a number of ways that you won’t be able to ignore. Since signs of cataracts may be related to other eye conditions, schedule an appointment with your SignatureMD-affiliated doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms, including:

  • Blurry or cloudy vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Double vision
  • Seeing bright colors as faded
  • Needing more light to read
  • Trouble seeing at night
  • Seeing a halo around lights
  • Viewing sunlight, headlights, and lamps as too bright
  • Needing to frequently change the prescription for your eyeglasses or contacts

Eye-opening cataract treatment options

Let’s make one thing crystal clear: cataracts are treatable. Since cataracts develop so slowly that you may not notice any problems at first, the only way to know if you have cataracts is by having comprehensive eye exams every year if you’re over age 65, or every two years after age 40. If you’re diagnosed with cataracts, surgery is the only way to remove them and restore your vision, but you may not need to have it right away. If cataracts are detected at an early stage and they aren’t disrupting your life too much, there are several ways to manage them, such as using brighter lights to read or getting a new eyeglass prescription. Once your clouded vision starts affecting daily activities like driving or reading, you may need to consider surgery. Cataract surgery simply involves removing the eye’s cloudy lens and replacing it with a new, clear lens. The procedure is very safe and successful, with around 90% of people who have it experiencing better vision.

During Cataract Awareness Month, share these important insights on cataracts, along with the need for regular eye exams and treatment, to help others see the light about protecting and preserving their vision.


About SignatureMD

SignatureMD is one of the nation’s largest firms providing initial conversion and ongoing support services to concierge medicine physicians. SignatureMD currently partners with over 200 affiliated primary care physicians and specialists across 35 states, and its network is rapidly expanding.