What do you know about cataracts?
If you said “not much,” you’re not alone. While plenty of people get cataracts each year, people who haven’t had the disease might not have a good idea of what it can cause.
Even those with cataracts might still have some questions about treatment and recovery. Whether you’ve had them or not, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’re answering some frequently asked questions about cataracts.
Read on to learn more.
Before Questions About Cataracts
Before we get into the weeds with questions about cataracts, let’s make sure to have a strong understanding of what cataracts are.
In short, cataracts are an eye disease that causes clouding in your eyes. This can impact your vision and make it quite difficult to see. For more details on this, check out our last blog Cataracts: What You Need to Know.
1. Are Cataracts Common?
One of the first questions you might have if you have cataracts is if they are common or not. Sometimes it helps to know that other people have had to deal with a disease, so this is a fair question.
In short, yes, cataracts are quite common. By the age of 80, over half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.
Of course, you don’t have to be 80 to have cataracts, although age is a common factor. People in their 40s and 50s can get cataracts, and even young people and babies can develop or be born with them.
Often, these early cataracts are a cause of diabetes, eye injury, or other problem. If you or your child haven’t had any eye complications yet, chances are you won’t have to worry about cataracts until your 50s or beyond.
2. Can Dogs Get Cataracts?
Like humans, dogs can get cataracts in their eyes. Also like humans, they tend to develop if the dog inherited the disease from their parents.
Old age, diabetes, and eye injury can also play a part in creating cataracts in your dog’s eye. Some species are also more prone to cataracts than others.
If you notice that your dog’s eyes are getting cloudy, consider taking them to your vet for a checkup. Although clouding in a dog’s eye is natural over time, it could also be the first signs of cataracts.
Surgery is an option when dealing with a dog’s cataracts, and like humans, they may go blind without it. Without proper treatment, a dog’s cataract can cause your pup quite a bit of harm.
3. Are Cataracts Painful?
Cataracts generally do not cause pain in your eyes unless they are left untreated for too long. In that case, the light may be hurting your eyes and giving you headaches.
Even if they don’t cause pain, cataracts can cause vision loss and total blindness if not treated. To stay alert, make sure to have annual comprehensive eye exams, letting your eye doctor check for any diseases.
4. Can Cataracts Be Prevented?
Because cataracts are so common, it can often feel like preventing them is impossible. That isn’t the case though.
If there’s a history of cataracts in your family, you might not be able to avoid them, but it can’t hurt to try. With a few healthy lifestyle changes, you might be able to prevent cataracts long term.
Here are a few ways.
Quit Smoking & Drinking
Smoking has plenty of dangers that you already know, and it can also make it more likely for you to get cataracts. Occasional alcohol likely won’t increase your chances of getting cataracts, but avoid excessive drinking for your eyes and other health benefits.
Diabetes can cause plenty of health problems related to the eyes, and cataracts are one. Those with diabetes should make sure to have regular eye exams to avoid any unforeseen issues.
Eating healthy has plenty of benefits for your overall health. Some studies have shown that healthy eating may reduce your chances of getting cataracts. Vitamins C and E, which come from foods like fruits and nuts respectively, are especially great for your eye health.
Protect Your Eyes
One of the best ways to protect your eyes, in general, is to wear sunglasses when you’re outside. This keeps them from exposure to harmful UV rays.
You should also protect your eyes from other injuries as they can cause cataracts as well. Safety glasses will keep you from any dangerous items getting in your eyes.
5. When Should I Get Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is elective surgery, so that means it’s up to you to decide when you want to have your cataracts removed. Although your optometrist may suggest getting them, you could still wait but shouldn’t!
The earlier you get the cataract removed, the easier the surgery will go, and the faster you’ll be able to get back to recovery. That being said, you may not want to get it removed until it starts impeding your vision.
The best thing to do is to book annual eye exams with your optometrist. If you have a cataract, they will let you know when they think it’s time to get it removed.
Questions About Cataracts: Next Steps
Now that you’ve read this article, hopefully, you have a better idea of what this common eye disease is. Because questions about cataracts can have complicated answers, make sure to speak to your optometrist about any concerns.
Whether you’re decades from having your first cataract or are thinking about surgery, we’re here to help. Please schedule an eye appointment with us online, or give us a call at 877-865-3937.