August is here! Summer might be winding down, but Cataract Awareness Month is just gearing up- so what better time to shed light on the world’s leading cause of blindness? Throughout August, Capital Health Plan (CHP) urges the community to understand the importance of eye health and to talk to a doctor if you believe you’re at risk for cataracts.
So what are cataracts? Cataracts occur when the lens in your eye becomes cloudy when natural proteins in the body build up over time. Some say vision with cataracts is like trying to look through a fogged-up windshield or dusty glass: blurry and hazy. Cataracts are a common part of aging, and by the time they reach age 65, more than 90% of people in the United States will develop cataracts. It’s estimated that more than 24 million Americans have cataracts.
Cataracts don’t interfere with your vision all at once- they can develop so slowly that some individuals aren’t even aware that they’re experiencing vision loss! Symptoms can include a slight change in color perception, double vision in one eye, frequent changes in their eyeglass prescription, and light sensitivity.
For CHP members of all ages, the most important thing to note is that cataracts aren’t just present in older patients. Certain pre-existing conditions can make you more susceptible at a young age- including diabetes, smoking, sun exposure, or other types of eye surgery. Be mindful to take care of pre-existing conditions, wear your sunglasses, and maintain a healthy diet. And as always, discuss any concerns with an eye doctor and make sure to schedule your annual eye exam!