According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, approximately 22 million Americans over the age of 40 suffer from cataracts - while more than half of all Americans will go on to be diagnosed with this condition by the time they reach the age of 80 years.
Promisingly, a new study shows that individuals who undergo cataract surgery to correct their vision have a lower mortality rate of 40 percent relative to those who suffer from a vision disorder and do not undergo surgery.
This is the main reason health caregivers encourage their patients to immediately consult with their physicians and seek treatment if they encounter any cataract-related issues with their vision.
With so many Americans suffering from cataracts, it is important that they understand the options available to them with regard to prevention and treatment. Thanks to modern technology, surgical procedures today are much less invasive than in the past.
Correcting one's visual impairment not only results in better eyesight, but it also leads to better physical and emotional wellbeing, confidence, optimism and overall better general health.
According to the study, individuals - particularly the elderly - who had undergone cataract surgery expressed greater satisfaction with their quality of life. They were able to participate independently in daily activities such as driving, reading, playing sports and other activities in which they otherwise would not have engaged prior to surgery.
The study also suggested that cataract surgery helped to reduce the risk of hip fractures in seniors.
Cataracts occur when the normally clear lens of the eye starts to become cloudy. Depending on the individual, cataracts may progress gradually over a period of years, or can progress more quickly - for instance, in people with diabetes.
Treatment for cataracts involves surgically removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens.
You may want to consider the following health guidelines to lower your risk of cataracts and other vision problems:
- Healthy diet - getting the right balance of fruits and vegetables daily can give your body the necessary antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to help maintain healthy eyes.
- Proper eye protection - sunglasses prevent exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays, helping to protect your eyes and reducing cataract formation.
- Moderate alcohol consumption - excessive alcohol intake is known to speed up cataract formation.
- Regular medical checkups - can help to detect cataracts and other vision disorders in their early stages, making treatment easier.