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Three Things Patients Should Know About Cataracts

Approximately 25 million Americans have cataracts, which causes cloudy, blurry or dim vision and often develops with advancing age. This June, Dr. Miano and Dr. Goel join the American Academy of Ophthalmology to observe Cataract Awareness Month. They share three things everyone should know about the condition and its treatment.  

As everyone grows older, the lenses of their eyes thicken and become cloudier. Eventually, they may find it more difficult to read street signs. Colors may seem dull. These symptoms may signal cataracts, which affect about 70 percent of people by age 75. Fortunately, cataracts can be corrected with surgery.

Ophthalmologists, physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care, perform around three million cataract surgeries each year to restore vision to those patients. Get an idea of what someone with cataracts might experience with this cataract vision simulator. The following are facts people should know about the condition.

  1. 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 certain ethnicities have all been linked to increased risk of cataracts. 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, speak with Dr. Miano and Dr. Goel at your next visit. 

  2. Cataracts cannot be prevented, but you can lower your risk. Wearing UV-blocking sunglasses and brimmed hats when outside can help. Several studies suggest that eating more vitamin C-rich foods may delay how fast cataracts form. Also, avoid smoking cigarettes, which have been shown to increase the risk of cataract development. 

  3. 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, 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.

A life-changing surgery

At age 49, Michael S.’s vision had become so impaired by cataracts that he couldn’t distinguish shapes or colors without his glasses on, even if objects were right in front of him. 

“Having the surgery was life-changing,” said Mr. S., who lives in South Jersey. “I can see everything from the time on my alarm clock to a bird’s nest in a tree hundreds of feet away without glasses. It’s the most amazing experience I’ve ever had.”

Dr. Goel says, “The pandemic led to a delay in care for many patients.  As our patients return to active lives post-pandemic, they are starting to experience increasing glare and blurred vision with their favorite activities." 

If cataracts are interfering with your ability to see well, consider asking Dr. Miano and Dr. Goel about cataract surgery. 
Now may be the perfect time to re-evaluate your vision needs and consider how cataracts affect your quality of life.

To learn more ways to keep your eyes healthy, visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeSmart® website.

Dr. Miano and Dr. Goel are board-certified comprehensive ophthalmologists. Dr. Miano and Dr. Goel are available to evaluate overall eye health and discuss treatment options for common ophthalmic conditions including cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, and dry eye.



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