The single largest cause of blindness in the world is cataracts. Luckily in the United States, it is easily remedied with a simple procedure, most often covered by insurance. That said, according to Prevent Blindness, over 25 million cataract surgeries are performed each year.

Our pros will increase your awareness and knowledge of cataracts this month as June is Cataract Awareness month. 

The American Association of Optometry states that clouding of the crystalline lens (cataract) is primarily caused by aging and cannot be prevented. However, from the AOA website, certain medications, diabetes, smoking, high alcohol consumption and exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation have been shown to contribute to the development of cataracts. 

While there are no clinically proven ways to prevent cataracts, there are some preventative approaches such as reducing exposure to sunlight through UV blocking lenses, stopping smoking and increasing antioxidant consumption by eating more leafy green vegetables and taking recommended supplements. 

Cataracts typically form slowly and may appear to the patient first as hazy or blurry vision. Colors may look dull, and night vision may become difficult along with an increased sensitivity to glare. Changes in prescriptions are common as the patient nears the time for cataract surgery.

When I worked in an ophthalmology clinic a few years ago, the post cataract patients were some of the happiest patients we saw in the eyewear dispensary. They were all elated to have clear vision again. In many cases following the surgery, they only needed reading glasses or low power corrective lenses, if any.

Prior to cataract surgery many patients are frustrated and confused. We can increase our effectiveness as opticians or technicians by having a better understanding of the symptoms and changes that occur to patients both before and after our patients have their cataracts surgically removed. Read on for more information.

Mindi Lewis