June is Cataract Awareness Month

by Lois Etienne on June 8, 2011

in Senior Health and Safety

As a senior’s extra set of eyes and ears, a CAREGiverSM can help him or her remember the importance of routine eye exams. June, Cataract Awareness Month, reminds us of the importance of routine eye exams in our elderly population. By age 80, more than half of all Americans will have cataracts – the leading cause of blindness in the world, according to Prevent Blindness America. Nearly 22.3 million Americans age 40 and older have cataracts.

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens blocking or changing the passage of light into the eye. Someone with a cataract can experience blurry or dimmed vision because the cataract stops light from properly passing through to your retina, which transmits the image to the brain.

The key to preventing vision loss is regular eye exams. People 65 or older should get a complete eye exam every one or two years. People with special risks – such as diabetes, a previous eye trauma, surgery or a family history of glaucoma – may need an eye exam more frequently.

You can help your senior clients by noticing signs of vision changes. Generally, a cataract does not cause pain, redness or tears. But the following problems could indicate a cataract:

  • Blurred vision, double vision, ghost images, or the sense of a “film” over eyes.
  • Light seems too dim for reading or close-up work, or the senior is “dazzled” by strong lights.
  • Your senior changes eyeglass prescriptions often, and the change does not seem to help his or her vision. He or she may also be able to see the cataract in the eye. It may look like a milky or yellowish spot in the pupil.

For more information, call Prevent Blindness America at 1-800-331-2020.

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