June is Cataract Awareness Month, a time when people are encouraged to learn more about this common eye condition. It is especially important for those with diabetes to be aware of the link between the disease and cataracts. Cataracts are a clouding of the lens in the eye, which can lead to blurry vision and other problems. For people with diabetes, the risk of developing cataracts is significantly higher, as high blood sugar levels can damage the lens over time. By raising awareness of cataracts and educating diabetes patients about the link between the two conditions, we can help people take steps to prevent or manage cataracts and protect their vision.
What is a cataract?
A cataract is a common eye condition that affects many people as they age. It occurs when the normally clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy, which can cause vision problems. Cataracts can develop slowly over time and may not initially cause any symptoms, but they can eventually cause blurry or cloudy vision, difficulty seeing at night, and other issues. Cataracts can be treated with surgery, which involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial one. This is a safe and effective procedure that can help restore clear vision and improve quality of life for those affected by cataracts. Research shows that a cataract accounted for more than 40% of cases worldwide in the past year, although it is treatable and manageable by proper eye care.
While it’s common to say that cataract is a natural part of aging, many factors add to the development of the condition. These include:
- Diabetes or high blood sugar
- Excessive smoking
- Addicted to alcohol
- Poor lifestyle (diet and other daily routines)
- Injury in the eyes
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Excessive exposure to sunlight
What are the symptoms of a cataract?
A cataract is best described as looking through a foggy or frosty window. The condition eliminates a person’s capacity to see clear images or range of view. Its symptoms are:
- Decreased vision quality (especially in older people)
- Blurry vision
- Yellowish spots on the eye/s
- Seeing “films” or “halos” on either eye
- Difficulty reading
- Trouble differentiating colors
- Sensitivity to light
- Difficulty seeing at nighttime
- Frequent changes in eyeglasses
How Can You Treat Cataract?
Cataract surgery is the safest and the most popular way to address this condition. In the US, more than 2 million cataract surgeries are performed yearly. According to surveys, no complications were recorded after any surgery, indicating the safety and effectiveness of the procedure.
What happens during cataract surgery? The procedure follows the removal of the clouded lens and replacing them with IOL (intraocular lens). The newly implanted lens matches the grade or capacity that your eyes demand. The recovery period is short, with improved vision after a few days from the surgery.
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure. Because of advancements in the medical field, the surgery takes less than an hour. It is also considered low risk, with patients returning to their daily routine immediately without any worries and complications. Doctors only provide eyedrops to reduce inflammation after the procedure.
June is Cataract Awareness Month
In a worldwide report, cataract cases surged between 33% and 48%, becoming the world’s leading cause of blindness and visual impairment. By 2025, the numbers are projected to increase to 40 million. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognized the condition among the top disabilities involving adults aged 18 years and above.
June has been declared as Cataract Awareness Month. This month is the best time to educate and spread awareness about the condition, its causes, types, symptoms, risk factors, and prevention.