by Connor Courtien, RDPFS Intern:
According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), more than half of Americans over the age of 80 either currently have cataracts or have undergone surgery to remove them. Additionally, as noted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss among Americans, and the leading cause of blindness globally. Therefore, in an effort to “educate the public on risk factors, symptoms, types of cataract, and cataract surgery,” June has been declared Cataract Awareness Month. Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s lens, causing the blocking or refraction of light as it passes through the eye. This disrupts the ability of the lens to focus images onto the retina, which in turn transmits those images to the brain. There are several risk factors that increase your chances of developing cataracts, including older age, long-term UV exposure, diabetes, and smoking. Fortunately, the prognosis for cataracts is generally good. They’re treatable with outpatient surgery that has a success rate of 95 percent. Noted by Jeff Todd, the CEO and president of Prevent Blindness, “The good news is that vision loss from cataract can be restored with treatment. We encourage everyone to learn the facts about cataract and the steps that can be taken to see clearly.” This sentiment is reinforced by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). “During Cataract Awareness Month in June, the American Academy of Ophthalmology reminds the public that early detection and treatment of cataracts is critical to preserving sight.” To read more about cataracts and the commemoration, check out the press release on Cataract Awareness Month from Prevent Blindness, AAO’s blurb on their Eye Health Observances calendar, as well as this article from National Today on Cataract Awareness Month – June 2023.