Have you ever felt like you’ve seen faded colors recently, or has your vision occasionally gone cloudy while at work? If any of this sounds familiar, then chances are you’ve experienced some of the symptoms associated with cataracts. June is Cataract Awareness Month, and it hopes to bring attention to this prevalent optical disorder.
To understand cataracts a little further, we interviewed Dr. Mauricio Figueroa, MD, an Ophthalmologist and newly hired physician located near the Main Campus of Bond Clinic, P.A., who contributed some additional insight on what this condition is.
“Cataracts are your natural lens that is now starting to develop color changes and sometimes cloudiness. If you can imagine the length of a camera, you want that to be high quality to get your best image. But environmental factors affect the clarity of the lens, and then it starts getting cracks and continues to degrade the quality of the image you had before. That’s essentially what’s going on with cataracts,” says Dr. Figueroa.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 30 million Americans have cataracts, making it the leading cause of vision loss in the U.S. Additionally, there are more facts that we can learn about this disease:
- One out of every six Americans over the age of 40 has cataracts. Most people assume that this medical condition affects the elderly, but most cases have been documented to start around 40 and can even double in your 50’s. Although it is rare, cataracts can be found in newborns as well.
- Currently, there is no proven way to prevent age-related cataracts. However, a healthy lifestyle can slow the progression. By avoiding smoking, eating fresh foods, decreasing UV (ultraviolet) exposure, and wearing proper eye protection may delay the development of cataracts.
- Diabetes increases your chances of developing faster and earlier. In a person with diabetes with uncontrolled blood glucose levels, cells in the lens can become cloudy and less transparent, causing a cataract to form.
- Surgery is the most effective treatment for cataracts. While some medication may help with the symptoms of cataracts, cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure and recognized as being highly safe and effective. Cataracts do not come back after being surgically removed.
If you suspect that you may be experiencing the symptoms of cataracts or have additional questions about this disease, we recommend that you visit your ophthalmologist today. Dr. Mauricio Figueroa is also available at Bond Clinic and taking new patients. He has been in practice since 2008 and continues to learn about the latest techniques available to treat the eyes. Give us a call at 863-293-1191 and see what services we have available to help you.