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Treating Cataracts


We all know why we need to wear sunglasses and sunscreen in the summer. Winter, however, can be deceiving. It's an illusion to assume that we are safe from sunburns during the colder season.

Snow acts as a powerful mirror for sunlight and magnifies the effects of UV rays which would otherwise be absorbed by the ground. As a result, the eyes are exposed to both the UV radiation bouncing back from the snowy carpet and the rays shining down directly from the sun.

If your family is skiing or snowboarding up in the mountains, you need to be even more careful! UV rays are more powerful at higher altitudes. Another important factor to remember is that ultraviolet radiation penetrates through clouds, so even if the sun is hidden behind them, it can still damage your eyes.

Prevent overexposure to sunlight by wearing sunglasses that absorb at least 95% of ultraviolet radiation when you go outside, no matter what time of year it is. Even though you want to look great in your shades, the most important part of choosing sunglasses is making sure they provide adequate protection against UV. Make sure the lenses are 100% UV blocking by looking for an indication that they block all light up to 400 nanometers - UV400. The good news is you don't necessarily have to pay more for full coverage for your eyes. Dozens of reasonably priced options exist that still provide total ultraviolet protection.

Another important factor in selecting sun wear is the size of the lenses. You want to make sure your glasses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The more coverage you have, the less harmful radiation will be able to penetrate. Lenses that wrap around the temples will also prevent UV waves from entering from the sides.

If you like to ski or frolic in the snowy hills, you should be aware that the sun's rays are stronger at higher elevations, so you need to be especially careful to keep your eyes shaded on the slopes. In addition to sunglasses, it's a good idea to put on a wide brimmed hat that covers your eyes.

Make a point to be knowledgeable about proper eye protection throughout the year. Don't forget to wear your sunglasses.

June is Cataract Awareness month. Did you know that cataracts are the leading source of loss of vision among those 55 and older? Actually, more than 50% of the population aged 65 and older have at the very least, partial cataract development.

A cataract is like a veil in front of the lens; one that limits or distorts the passage of light into the eye. Inside the eye, the lens exists within a sealed bag or capsule. As more mature cells stop functioning, they end up trapped within the capsule. As time goes on, a large amount of cells die and gather, which causes the lens to become veiled, making vision blurred or fuzzy. For most people, cataracts are a natural side effect of older age. Additional risks for developing a cataract include strong heat or extended exposure to the sun's UV rays, being overweight, diabetes, high blood pressure, family medical history, inflamed eyes, steroid use, smoking and eye injuries.

In the initial stages of cataract development, stronger lighting and glasses may be implemented to lessen the vision issues you may be experiencing. At some point, though, cataract surgery might be the solution to improve your vision. But, it's comforting to know that more than 90 percent of patients who have undergone cataract surgery reacquire strong sight.

If you are in your sixties and having a hard time seeing in low light, it's time to discuss cataracts with your optometrist. The prognosis for cataracts is excellent, and we know you want to have total visibility throughout your golden years.