Watch For Vi­sion Changes As You Age Rec­og­niz­ing Cataracts

Watch for vi­sion changes as you age

Wellness Update - - Contents -

As life goes on, we all start to no­tice cer­tain changes that are a nat­u­ral part of ag­ing. Maybe our joints aren’t as flex­i­ble as be­fore, or our hear­ing just isn’t what it used to be. Our vi­sion, too, may be less sharp than it once was.

A s life goes on, we all start to no­tice cer­tain changes that are a nat­u­ral part of ag­ing. Maybe our joints aren’t as flex­i­ble as be­fore, or our hear­ing just isn’t what it used to be. Our vi­sion, too, may be less sharp than it once was. One cause of im­paired eye­sight later in life is cataracts. A cataract is a cloud­ing of the lens in the eye. Peo­ple with cataracts may no­tice cloudy vi­sion or ha­los around lights when driv­ing at night. If left un­treated, cataracts can greatly limit vi­sion. In fact, some peo­ple with se­vere cataracts may only be able to tell the dif­fer­ence be­tween light and dark. Cataracts are com­mon in older adults. About half of all Amer­i­cans will ei­ther have cataracts or have had cataract surgery by the time they reach age 80. “I don’t usu­ally think of cataract as an eye disease. In most cases, it’s sim­ply a nor­mal ag­ing change of the eye,” says Dr. Rachel Bishop, an oph­thal­mol­o­gist (eye doc­tor) at NIH. “Typ­i­cally, cataracts don’t cause dam­age to the eye the way most eye dis­eases do.” Early symp­toms of cataract can be im­proved with eye­glasses, brighter light­ing, anti-glare sun­glasses or mag­ni­fy­ing lenses. If th­ese steps don’t help, surgery is the only ef­fec­tive op­tion for treat­ment. Surgery in­volves re­mov­ing the cloudy lens and re­plac­ing it with a plas­tic lens. Cataract pro­ce­dures are among the most com­mon surg­eries per­formed in the United States. Most pa­tients re­cover in just a few weeks, and many have im­proved eye­sight af­ter a few days. Re­cent ad­vances have al­lowed doc­tors to tai­lor new lenses to pa­tients and help re­duce the need for eye­glasses af­ter surgery. The de­ci­sion to have cataract surgery is a per­sonal one that should be made be­tween you and your doc­tor. Some ex­perts ad­vise that cataracts be re­moved only when vi­sion loss in­ter­feres with your ev­ery­day ac­tiv­i­ties, such as driv­ing, read­ing or watch­ing TV. The best way to pre­vent or de­lay cataracts is to pro­tect your eyes from harm­ful ul­tra­vi­o­let rays from the sun. Try wear­ing sun­glasses or a hat with a brim. Re­searchers also be­lieve that good nu­tri­tion can help re­duce the risk of age-re­lated cataract. They rec­om­mend eat­ing plenty of green leafy veg­eta­bles, fruits, nuts and other healthy foods. Also, don’t smoke, be­cause smok­ing may speed cataract de­vel­op­ment. To screen for early signs of eye disease, Bishop rec­om­mends that ev­ery­one have a di­lated eye exam at age 40, even if your vi­sion seems fine. Once you’re in your 60s, a di­lated eye exam is usu­ally ad­vised ev­ery year. “Some peo­ple think re­duced vi­sion is just an un­avoid­able part of nor­mal ag­ing,” says Bishop. “It isn’t. If you no­tice your vi­sion isn’t as good as it used to be, you should see your eye doc­tor.” Since many se­ri­ous eye dis­eases have no early warn­ing signs, it’s also im­por­tant to make reg­u­lar eye ex­ams part of your stan­dard health care rou­tine. Source: NIH News in Health, Au­gust 2013, pub­lished by the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health and the Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices. For more in­for­ma­tion go to www.news­in­health.nih.gov

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.