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“As the cataract progressed I noticed a steady decrease in the quality of my vision for a whole variety of activities. It became more difficult to read, my
eyes tired more quickly, of course with my job I do a lot of reading, a lot of
close work. Things became tougher.”
-William Martin, MD
Like the lens of a camera, the eye’s lens focuses to keep the images of both close and distant objects clear. Over time, the lens becomes less transparent; studies suggest accumulated exposure to ultraviolet light causes the natural lens to cloud. Most often, this clouding takes place slowly as proteins within the lens degenerate.
What causes the lens to cloud? Studies suggest accumulated exposure to ultraviolet light causes the natural lens to cloud, and in most cases, another culprit is the normal aging process. If you are age 65 or older, you probably have cataracts, but they may not have progressed to the point that they affect your vision. Certain lifestyle choices and relatively common health conditions, like diabetes, may hasten cataract development. Nutrition may play at least a limited role. Heavy salt consumption, for example, appears to increase the risk of significant cataract development. Some research suggests that antioxidant vitamins, like vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamins C and E, and selenium, may slow cataract development. All of these are available in common multivitamin formulas. Beyond that, the use of nutritional supplements carries its own risks; you should consult your physician before adding them to your diet.
Cataracts do NOT generally cause pain, discomfort, redness, discharge, or sudden alarming vision changes that would lead you to seek immediate help. The changes caused by cataracts generally develop so slowly that you don’t notice them until they are serious enough to affect normal lifestyles.
Only a professional can determine if cataracts are the cause of your symptoms. If you answered “yes” to any of the cataract quiz questions, it’s time to call Carolina Eyecare Physicians to schedule an evaluation.
NOTE: Even if you think you do not have cataracts, you should seek medical attention if you hare having troublesome eye symptoms.