While many Nebraskans may perceive cataracts as being an ailment of the eye that only afflicts the elderly, clouded vision can often appear in people as young as their 40s.
Eating carrots or wearing sunglasses won’t have any impact either as there’s no way to prevent cataracts. Ophthalmologist Dr. Bonnie Henderson says it’s just a part of aging.
“People worry that if they’re looking at their computer, which, everyone now stares at their computer all day, they’re worried that looking at their computer increases the risk of developing a cataract and that’s just not true,” Dr. Henderson says. “Staring at the computer may be hard on your eyes for eye strain or dry eyes or headaches, but it does not cause cataract formation.”
After significant advances over the years, the surgery to have a cloudy, cataract-laden lens removed is now about a ten-minute procedure. Plus, Henderson says, the new lens that’s implanted can be modified to correct a patient’s other vision problems.
“That lens actually decreases a patient’s dependence on glasses both for distance and for reading and there’s another lens for people who have astigmatism,” Henderson says. “It’s now become more of a refractive procedure as well as a medical procedure and it really helps the overall functioning and improves the quality of life.”
A recent study found more than half of all Americans will develop cataracts by the time they’re 80, though she believes the figure is much higher and many people just don’t have the condition diagnosed.