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Age-Related Cataracts

A cataract is a cloudy area in the normally clear lens of the eye, a tissue located behind the pupil that is responsible for focusing light onto the retina (back of the eye). A cataract usually begins small and has little effect on vision, but as it grows and clouds more of the lens you may find that performing normal tasks, such as reading and driving, become more difficult.

The most common form of cataract is age-related, usually starting after age 50, but sometimes they can begin at a younger age. Even though a cataract can start to form in your 50's, vision problems may not occur until much later.
Although researchers are learning more about cataracts, no one understands exactly why the eye's lens changes as we grow older. Some studies suggest that the following factors may put you at increased risk for cataracts and other eye diseases.

Developmental delay
Premature birth
UV Exposure
Personal or family history of cataracts or eye disease
African-American heritage (African-Americans are at increased risk for glaucoma)
Previous serious eye injury
Use of certain medications (check with your Eye M.D.)
Some diseases that affect the whole body (such as diabetes or HIV infection)

The best method to manage age-related cataracts is to have them diagnosed early. Please see your Eye M.D. (ophthalmologist) for a comprehensive medical examination at the following intervals:

Adults between the ages of 40 to 64 every two to fours years
Adults age 65 and older every one to two years

If any of the above risk factors apply to you, check with your Eye M.D. to see how often you should have a medical eye exam.

Symptoms of a Cataract May Include:

Increased nearsightedness
Sensitivity to light and glare, especially while driving at night
Blurred vision
Distorted images in either eye
Changes in the way you see colors, or colors seem faded
Cloudy, filmy or fuzzy vision
Double vision
Frequent changes in your eyeglass prescription
Changes in the color of the pupil
Poor night vision
Cloudy lens at birth

If you experience any of the above symptoms, please see your Eye M.D. (ophthalmologist) as soon as possible.

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