Develop In Younger Americans
While more than 20 million Americans have
cataracts, a common eye condition, new numbers indicate not all
of the patients are elderly
The American Academy of Ophthalmology estimates nearly half of
all people will have a cataract by the time they're 65.
Laura Monk, however, is dealing with the condition in her 40's.
She said, “It was terrible, I couldn't drive at night. You know,
I'm in my 40s and I felt like I was 80.”
Ophthalmologist Robert Tucker said cataracts occur when the
normally clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy.
They can develop from eye injuries, certain diseases,
medications or exposure to sunlight.
Dr. Robert Tucker said, “The biggest role at least in younger
folks is probably exposure to ultraviolet radiation. They go to
the beach, they go water skiing, snow skiing. You get
ultraviolet radiation directly from above you.”
Like other patients her age, Monk noticed her eyesight was
changing rapidly. She said, “The best way I can describe it is
looking through Vaseline…It's just blurry, blurry, blurry and it
got thicker and thicker.”
Surgery is the only way to remove a cataract.
Dr. Tucker said, “We use a device that fragments or breaks thecataract
up into small pieces and we put in its place a man-made lens.”
Dr. Tucker said following surgery, patients usually notice an
immediate improvement in their eyesight.
Experts advise wearing sunglasses or a hat to block ultraviolet
sunlight saying it may help to delay cataracts.
They also recommend quitting smoking and a healthy diet.