There are few things that are certain in life, but one thing that is certain is that if a person lives long enough, he or she will eventually develop cataracts. Not all cataracts are related to age, of course; some people develop cataracts as a result of injury or disease, while others are genetically predisposed to cataracts. However, no one is immune to cataracts. Over time, proteins will clump together on the natural lenses of the eyes, causing the lenses to become cloudy. Without treatment, what begins as obscured vision will inevitably turn to blindness. Cataracts may strike when a person is in his or her forties or in his or her nineties, but they will strike.
Tragically, in underdeveloped countries, cataracts remain the number-one cause of blindness. In the United States, however, cataracts no longer pose the threat to vision that they once did. This is because the vast majority of people have their cataract-affected lenses surgically removed and replaced with artificial intraocular lenses (IOLs) before their vision is permanently compromised. In order to seek timely treatment, however, you must be able to recognize cataract symptoms and risk factors. Our San Diego, CA eye care professionals invite you to read the following blog post describing these symptoms and risk factors and then contact North County Laser Eye Associates to schedule your comprehensive eye exam.
What Are the Symptoms of Cataracts?
If you experience one or more of the following symptoms, you should schedule an eye exam right away as you may have cataracts or another serious eye condition:
- Clouded vision (this is the number-one symptom of cataracts)
- Poor night vision
- Blurred vision
- Fluctuating vision
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Severe glare
- Poor color perception
- Double vision
- Dim vision
- Loss of contrast sensitivity
In general, pain is not a symptom of cataracts. If you experience any of the above symptoms along with eye pain, please seek treatment urgently as you may be dealing with an eye emergency.
What Are the Risk Factors Associated with Cataracts?
Age is the number-one risk factor associated with cataracts. When a person turns 60, his or her risk of developing cataracts begins to increase with every passing year. By the age of 75, approximately half of all Americans either have cataracts or have undergone cataract surgery.
Other risk factors for cataracts include:
- Gender: Females are more likely than males to develop cataracts before the age of 60.
- Race: Blacks and Hispanics are at greater risk of developing cataracts than Asians and Caucasians regardless of age.
- Eye health: Patients with previous eye injuries or diseases are at greater risk of developing cataracts regardless of age.
- History of smoking and alcohol consumption: People who smoke or drink alcohol to excess are at greater risk of developing cataracts before the age of 60.
- Diabetes: Diabetics are at high risk of developing cataracts.
- Family history: People with a family history of cataracts are at greater risk of developing cataracts regardless of age.
Learn More about Cataract Symptoms and Risk Factors
To learn more about cataract symptoms and risk factors, please contact North County Laser Eye Associates today.