The lens inside the eye is made up of water and proteins and works much like a camera lens, says Gretchyn Bailey, editor in chief of Optometry Times. The lens focuses “light onto the retina for clear vision” and also “adjusts the eye’s focus, letting us see things clearly both up close and far away.” However, when the proteins within the lense clump together, this obscures clear vision. “This is a cataract, and over time, it may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it harder to see,” says Bailey.
Most cataracts are related to aging, with more than 22 million Americans age 40 and older affected, including half of all Americans over the age of 80, according to the National Eye Institute. However, recent studies have found that the prevalence of cataracts in younger patients appears on the rise. By the year 2020, Prevent Blindness America (PBA) estimates that more than 30 million Americans will suffer from cataracts.
“What we are seeing is we see cataracts at a much earlier age than we used to, now part of that may be detection, we can detect them earlier,” says Jeffrey Whitman, M.D., ophthalmologist at Key-Whitman Eye Center in Dallas. Other reasons include environmental changes and lifestyle, says eye surgeon Debasish Bhattacharya, chairman and managing director of the Disha Eye Hospital.
“While there is no denying the fact that improved detection and surgical techniques have made it possible to identify and treat the disease earlier than ever before,environmental changes and lifestyle are also responsible for the early onset of cataract,” he says.
Many doctors believe possible reasons for younger patients developing cataracts include sun exposure, medications, food additives, and preservatives. Another reason could be the rise in diabetes cases. Currently, more than 25.8 million Americans, 8.3% of the population, have diabetes, a risk factor for cataracts.
“Changing food habits and sedentary lifestyle were leading to diabetes which is the biggest reason behind early cataract,” says Bhattacharya.
But don’t worry; cataracts are very treatable.
Cataract Detection and Treatment in Annapolis, Maryland
The Anne Arundel Eye Center (AAEC) is a regional leader in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma and cataracts. A consultation with board certified ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles will help guide you through the treatment process and help you determine the best course of action.
Dr. Boles utilizes the LenSx® Laser, the most technologically advanced option for cataract patients today, to create a cataract surgery that’s 100% unique to each patient.
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Staffed by caring and knowledgeable professionals, AAEC’s state-of-the-art treatment center is dedicated to making the best eye care accessible to everyone.
If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Samuel Boles, Dr. Nicole Kershner Regis, Dr. Kathryn Turner, and the eye care specialists here at AAEC by calling 410-224-2010. AAEC is staffed by caring and knowledgeable professionals who will help guide you on your healing journey.