June 23, 2016
What is Cataract Awareness Month?
June is Cataract Awareness Month. If you’re surprised that there is such a thing as Cataract Awareness Month, you’re not alone. But it’s true: the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has named June the month. The purpose is to raise awareness about cataracts, and what you can do to prevent losing your sight.
At SEE, we think that’s a terrific idea. Cataracts are a very common feature of growing older. In fact, by the age of 75, a whopping 70% of all people (and half of all Americans) will have developed cataracts at one point or another. At any given time, an estimated 25 million Americans age 40 and older suffer from cataracts.
Luckily for those of us who live in the U.S., doctors can easily correct cataracts with surgery. Ophthalmologists perform around three million cataract surgeries in the country each year, with an overall success rate of more than 98%. To find out more about cataracts and our efforts to treat them internationally, visit our cataracts page.
How Can You Prevent Them?
Awareness is key to preventing cataracts. Here are some handy tips on caring for your eyes, courtesy of the AAO:
- Age isn’t the only risk factor for cataracts. Though most everyone will develop cataracts with age, recent studies show that lifestyle and behavior can influence when and how severely you develop cataracts. Diabetes, extensive exposure to sunlight, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and genetic factors may all increase risk of cataracts. In addition, eye injuries, prior eye surgery, and long-term use of steroid medication can also result in cataracts. If you have any of these or other risk factors, talk to an ophthalmologist.
- You can lower your risk. Wear UV-blocking sunglasses and brimmed hats when outside. Several studies suggest that eating more vitamin C-rich foods may delay how fast cataracts form. Avoid smoking cigarettes, which increase the risk of cataract development.
- Surgery may help improve more than just your vision. During the procedure, the natural clouded lens is replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens, or IOL, which should improve your vision significantly. Patients have a variety of lenses to choose from, each with different benefits. Studies have shown that cataract surgery can improve quality of life and reduce the risk of falling. If cataracts are interfering with your ability to see well, consider asking your ophthalmologist about cataract surgery.
In conclusion, on behalf of everyone at SEE, I hope you have a wonderful Cataract Awareness Month! Take care of your eyes, and I hope you enjoy a memorable summer, filled with truly beautiful sights, this year.
– Randal Avolio, President & CEO