We asked Dr. Laudinsky an important question: What is the leading cause of vision loss in Canada?
Here is what she had to say:
Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in Canada.
A cataract is a cloudy or foggy area that forms in the lens of the eye. The lens is located behind the iris (the coloured part of the eye) and should be clear. The job of the lens is to properly bend light to focus on the retina, but if the lens has a cataract, it causes the light to scatter resulting in blurry vision.
Who gets cataracts?
As life expectancy increases, more and more of us will get cataracts. They are normal and usually age related. By age 65, nearly half of people will have their vision affected by cataracts! If you want to try and postpone the effects of cataracts, there are a few things that you can do to help!
First off, you should always make sure to wear sunglasses when outdoors. UV exposure is a known risk factor for the early development of cataracts.
Secondly, smokers have approximately double the risk of developing premature cataracts vs. non-smokers.
Additionally, some other medical conditions, such as diabetes, can also cause cataracts to arrive earlier then expected. Typically cataracts are very slow to develop and in the beginning, have only a small effect on vision. As they progress you may think that your glasses prescription has changed as things will begin to look blurry or dim.
What do we do about cataracts?
Generally when you are first diagnosed with a cataract it will be in its early stages and often no treatment other than monitoring is necessary. When the cataract interferes with your daily life, then your optometrist may suggest cataract surgery.
Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with a clear implant, which is one of the most common surgeries done today. This is done by an eye surgeon called an ophthalmologist.
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