Some studies estimate that cataracts are responsible for 51% of global blindness. That’s approximately 20 million people. And, according to the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute at the University of California Irvine, more than 50 percent of people over the age of 60 suffer from cataracts1.
Early symptoms of cataract development may include cloudy or blurry vision. Lights may cause a glare, seem too dim or seem too bright. Patients may also find it difficult to read or drive, especially at night, or may have to change eyeglass prescriptions often.
Aside from age, other possible cataract risk factors include2:
- Intense heat or long-term exposure to the sun's UV rays
- High blood pressure
- Inflammation in the eye
- Hereditary influences
- Long-term steroid use
- Eye injuries
The symptoms of early cataracts may be improved with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses. If these measures do not help, surgery is the only effective treatment. Surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens or IOL3.
1 http://www.eye.uci.edu/cataract.html. Accessed on March 24, 2014.
2 http://www.who.int/blindness/causes/priority/en/index1.html. Accessed April 2, 2014.
3 http:www.nei.nih.gov/health/cataract/cataract_facts.asp#4a. Accessed March 24, 2014.