Loss of vision in the elderly is common around the world. This scenario is more common that glaucoma, diabetes, and macular degeneration in people above 40 years, but there is not much attention to it. If your vision is becoming blurry or cloudy, you are most likely a victim of cataracts and should seek medical attention. This means you will find reading or driving a car difficult. It explains why the elderly with cloudy vision cannot tell the expression on a person’s face hence begin to endure poor communication with their loved ones. Beware that the Cataracts develop slowly and may not disturb your eyesight.
Here, we will observe the causes and methods of preventing cataracts, but only for general information. You need to check with your doctor for reliable diagnoses and prescription for your specific case.
According to the World Health Organization, a Cataract is a condition where the elderly lose their normal clear lens and develop cloudy lenses instead. They develop a slow loss of their vision as it becomes more frosty and foggy. During the first stages of development, most people assume or ignore the problem, but eventually, there is complete vision loss. You may begin by depending on strong light or eyeglasses to manage the condition. However, it develops into worse stages and you may not deal with it until you undergo surgery. Luckily, the surgical process is considered safe with high levels of success over the years and across many cultures and related situations.
Types of Cataracts
Studies have revealed different types of cataracts, which depend on their location in the eye. Here are the main categories;
Subcapsular cataracts are common in people with diabetes. They are found at the back of your lens. People taking steroids in high dosages have a greater risk too.
Nuclear cataracts are the most common aging conditions across the spectrum. It occurs deep in the central part (also the nucleus) of your lens
Cortical Cataracts are the visible type occurring in the cortex of the lens surrounding your nucleus. They are white and wedge-like formations, which work their way from the exterior to the center gradually causing blindness
The Cataracts begin small causing some blurriness, which is manageable but soon develops into a worse condition. Some are related to the region while others are genetic among many others depend on other conditions. Some of the most common are;
- Cloudy, blurry or dim vision
- Double vision in one of the eyes
- Fading or yellowing of colors
- Frequent shifting in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
- Increasing difficulty to see especially at nightfall making movement and traveling hectic
- The need for brighter light when reading or driving
- Seeing halos around lights making them different
- Extra sensitivity to changes light and glare
During the first stages, the symptoms are negligible, and can easily be ignored. The victim may be unaware of the vision loss, but as it grows larger, it clouds more of the lens causing distortion in light allowed to pass through the lens. Whenever you notice any changes in your vision, visit your doctor for testing. If you experience eye-related issues such as sudden pain, or a headache when exposed to bright light, it is time to see your doctor.
As people age, there is a change in the tissue responsible for eye development. While some people have more prevalence due to their genetic structure, others live in areas with higher risk. Here are the common causes;
- Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and other sources
- Statin medicines used to reduce cholesterol
- Significant alcohol consumption
- Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications
- Previous eye surgery
- Previous eye injury or inflammation
- Hormone replacement therapy
- High myopia
- Family history
Many studies have revealed that dietary supplements can help prevent cataracts. Since there is dwindling support for the tissue, Vitamin E and lutein carotenoids available in food supplements can help reduce the risks of a cataract. According to Wielders and Schouten, antioxidant vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids help reduce the risk of cataracts.
McArdle, Olejniczak, and Kuszak conducted a study on the role of nutrition on eye health to prevent cataracts and found that good nutrition is the key to keeping cataracts at bay. Further studies showed that sunglasses blocking UV rays while outdoors help to maintain eye health.
Wielders, L. H., Schouten, J. S., & Nuijts, R. M. (2018). Prevention of macular edema after cataract surgery. Current opinion in ophthalmology, 29(1), 48-53.
McArdle, G. J., Olejniczak, B. L., & Kuszak, J. R. (2017). U.S. Patent No. 9,649,224. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Pescosolido, N., Barbato, A., Giannotti, R., Komaiha, C., & Lenarduzzi, F. (2016). Age-related changes in the kinetics of human lenses: prevention of the cataract. International journal of ophthalmology, 9(10), 1506.
Eckert, K. A., Carter, M. J., Lansingh, V. C., Silva, J. C., & McLeod-Omawale, J. (2016). Field testing project to pilot World Health Organization global eye health indicators in Latin America: lessons learned thus far. Community eye health, 29(93), S01.