In 2010, 24.4 million Americans over the age of 40 suffered from cataracts.
Cataracts can seriously affect your vision, but thankfully, treatment for them has proven effective.
Early onset cataracts are one of the most common vision issues that people face and could affect your vision. Here are the symptoms and causes of cataracts.
What Are Early Onset Cataracts?
Most people think that you have to be older, at least 60s, to get cataracts.
However, you can be as young as 20 or 30 years old to get cataracts. A few people even have them at birth.
If you get cataracts when you are that young, then you have early onset cataracts.
Even if you get cataracts early in life, you will still have a cloudiness in the lens of your eye. This can happen when proteins start to gather together in your eye and block your vision, or when your lens just starts to become a darker color.
Other people may be able to notice this cloudiness, but for you, it will look like you are trying to see out of a foggy or frosted over window.
Having this cloudy vision can make it hard to read, drive, or see facial expressions. The cataracts may only appear in one eye, but they can appear in both.
Even if cataracts appear before you’re older, you may notice your vision slowly deteriorating. You won’t wake up one day and suddenly notice that your vision worsened overnight.
However without treatment, your vision will start to get worse.
Early onset cataracts can have many different causes that aren’t caused by aging:
- Retina eye surgery
- Reactions to drugs
- Exposure to radiation
- Congenital problems
- Long term steroid use
However, if you develop cataracts later on in life, the cause is probably just due to aging or injury.
How to Prevent Cataracts
While there is no proven, totally effective prevention, thankfully, cataracts can be easy to avoid, especially if they are caught early enough.
Make sure that you go to your yearly eye exams. Your doctor can notice the signs of cataracts, and if they’re caught early enough, it will be easier to treat them.
If you are a habitual smoker, then quitting smoking may help you counteract cataracts because smoking is a common cause of cataracts. To figure out how to stop, talk to your doctor and look into different medications and strategies to help you achieve your goal.
Certain other health conditions can also contribute to your cataracts, so making sure that you take care of those conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, can help keep your cataracts at bay.
You should also eat a healthy diet. Make sure that you get your fill of fruits and vegetables. Many vegetables have antioxidants, and antioxidants can contribute to having healthy eyes and preventing cataracts.
Some studies have also proved that just making sure you have all your vitamins and minerals can also keep your eyes healthy. Eat healthily and reduce the amount of alcohol you drink.
One of the easiest things you can do to prevent cataracts is to wear sunglasses when you are out in the sun. You’ll want to find sunglasses that filter out ultraviolet light.
If you think you have cataracts, there can be different symptoms that present themselves to let you know.
Look for symptoms and signs such as:
- Clouded or blurry vision
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Seeing halos surrounding lights
- Light sensitivity
- Double vision in one eye
- Many prescription changes
- Need a brighter light for reading/Lights too dim
- Fading eye color
- Yellowing eyes
As we said above, you may not start to notice the cloudy vision at first, but rather it will build up over time.
The cataract may affect a small part of your eye and then slowly take over the whole eye as time goes on.
Because there are many different kinds of cataracts, there may be different symptoms that you can experience.
If you think that you have cataracts, consult with your doctor, and they will then be able to recommend different treatments for you.
If the symptoms are just starting, your doctor may recommend that you get some new glasses, maybe even bifocals. They may also recommend that you make sure that you have optimal lighting in your house so that you are not causing your eye more strain.
If your cataracts are very progressed, your doctor may recommend that you think about surgery. Your doctor may even recommend that you get cataracts LASIK surgery.
Surgery is also a common and effective treatment for cataracts. It is actually the most common surgery performed in the United States. In addition to that, most people have corrected vision afterward too.
When you get cataract surgery, the doctor will remove the lens that is affected and clouded, and they will replace that with a plastic clear lens. The lens they put on your eye is called an intraocular lens (IOL), and they are making new, advanced lenses all the time.
Because of these advancements, it makes the surgery easier and more successful. They have one that even blocks out the UV and blue light to protect your retina so that you don’t get cataracts again.
Make an Eye Doctor Appointment Today
If you think you have early onset cataracts, you should make an appointment with your doctor.
One of the most common ways you can catch it is by going to your eye doctor for a routine exam.
Read this blog on how to choose and find the right eye doctor.