Did you know that more than half of all Americans aged 80 or older either have cataracts or have had surgery to remove them? According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States and the leading cause of blindness worldwide. In an effort to educate the public about cataracts, Beyond Vision LNK is supporting June’s Cataract Awareness Month, focusing on risk factors, symptoms, types of cataracts, and cataract surgery.

A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s lens, which can block or change the passage of light into the eye. The lens, located behind the pupil and the colored iris, is normally transparent and helps to focus images onto the retina.

Several risk factors for cataracts include age, intense heat or long-term exposure to UV rays from the sun, certain diseases such as diabetes, inflammation in the eye, hereditary influences, events before birth, long-term steroid use, eye injuries, eye diseases, and smoking. While rare, cataracts can also occur in children, known as “pediatric cataract.”

Cataract surgery is a common procedure in the United States, with 9 out of 10 people experiencing improved vision after the surgery, and most people being completely healed 8 weeks after their surgery, as stated by the NEI.

Dr. Ericksen, emphasizes that cataracts are very common and affect more people than any other eye disease. The good news is that vision loss from cataracts can be restored with treatment and monitoring. She encourages everyone to learn the facts about cataracts and the steps that can be taken to see clearly.

For more information, please visit with Dr. Ericksen at Beyond Vision LNK.