June is Cataract Awareness Month, and the Canadian Ophthalmological Society reminds Canadians to wear sunglasses to reduce the risk of developing cataract disease
Friday June 3, 2022
Reducing exposure to ultraviolet light may decrease risk for developing cataracts
June 3, 2022 – Ottawa. Cataract is a clouding of the natural lens inside the eye which focuses the light on the back of the eye. Most cataracts are found in people over the age of 60, but changes to the lens generally start around the age of 40, and cataracts can sometimes occur in babies or young children. Cataracts usually develop slowly, causing a gradual and painless decrease in vision. Changes you might experience include:
- Blurred vision
- Glare, particularly at night
- Frequent changes in eyeglass prescription
- A decrease in colour intensity
- A yellowing of images
- Improved uncorrected distance vision for farsighted (hyperopic) people
- Improved uncorrected near vision for presbyopic people
- Reduced distance vision for nearsighted (myopic) people
The loss of transparency may be so mild that vision is barely affected, or it can be so severe that no shapes or movements are seen – only light and dark.
Risk factors also include some medications (e.g., steroids), systemic diseases such as diabetes, eye injuries, smoking and close family history of cataracts.
“While cataracts are treatable, a visual acuity test and a slit lamp exam, combined with a review of a patient’s medical history and symptoms, will help identify risk factors or even visual loss that a patient might not yet be aware of,” explains Dr. Colin Mann, President of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society. “Wearing sunglasses and avoiding potential damage from UV rays are other preventative factors.”
Treatment and prevention
Eyeglasses or contact lenses can usually correct slight vision changes caused by early cataracts, but they cannot sharpen vision once a cataract is more advanced. Once cataract has developed, there is no cure except to have the cataract surgically removed. Cataract surgery is a very successful operation. In fact, one and a half million people have this procedure every year in Canada, and over 95% have a successful result.
Canadians can help protect themselves against cataracts by reducing exposure to ultraviolet light by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, not smoking, and ensuring regular eye exams with their eye doctor.
To learn more, visit seethepossibilities.ca.
About Canadian Ophthalmological Society
The Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS) is the national, recognized authority on eye and vision care in Canada. As eye physicians and surgeons, we are committed to assuring the provision of optimal medical and surgical eye care for all Canadians by promoting excellence in ophthalmology and by providing services to support our members in practice. Our membership includes over 900 ophthalmologists and 200 ophthalmology residents. We work collaboratively with government, other national and international specialty societies, our academic communities (ACUPO), our provincial partners and affiliates and other eye care professionals and patient groups to advocate for health policy in Canada in the area of eye and vision health. COS is an accredited, award-winning provider of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) through the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and is an affiliate of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).
For more information, please contact Kim Tytler, Manager, Communications & Public Affairs, [email protected].