Nearly 90% of Americans develop a cataract by age 65, and the probability increases the older we get. An estimated 20.5 million Americans age 40 and older have cataracts in one or both eyes. Cataracts develop painlessly and gradually impair vision. While it is true that cataracts are much more common in people over age 50, they can develop in people of any age.
Cataracts are diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. The early stages of cataracts can be treated with glasses and contact lenses. However, as cataracts progress, they will eventually need to be removed surgically. A cataract forms when the natural lens of the eye changes color and becomes cloudy. This change can happen over the course of months and years and is generally painless.
Like many eye diseases, cataracts are hard to detect during their initial development. Most people don’t notice a cataract until it has started to affect vision. However, a diagnosis from an optometrist may come weeks, months, and even years prior to you noticing symptoms.
Once corrective lenses and other techniques are no longer able to compensate for the visual impairment caused by cataracts, removal of the cataract is the only remaining option for treatment. Modern surgical techniques for cataract removal are fast, painless, and quite successful. Every year, millions of Americans undergo cataract removal surgery. It is considered very safe. Dr. Jones will determine the point at which surgical intervention is necessary and refer you to a cataract surgeon.
Common symptoms associated with cataracts: