By Gilda Morales, ANP, DC
Today’s topic deals with a condition that affects almost every person later in life, cataracts. Although cataracts are mostly age related in 90% of cases, they may also result from diabetes, or secondary to trauma such as heat, electric shock, radiation, concussion or perforating eye injuries, or may also be caused by steroids.
Cataracts are an opacity that clouds the lens of the eye, causing decreased visual acuity and vision changes, which can be expected in almost all people over the age of 70. Although aging is the most common cause of cataracts, there are other risk factors that have also been implicated such as cigarette smoking, ultraviolet sunlight exposure, diabetes, the prolonged use of high-dose steroids, alcohol use and a positive family history.
The symptoms found in age-related cataracts include decreased vision, blurred vision, distortion or ghosting of images, such as seeing double. Fortunately, the cure is a common surgery, usually performed in an outpatient setting with many patients reporting significantly improved vision soon after their surgery.