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Cataracts Leading Cause of Blindness Worldwide

September 3, 2014

A recent report entitled “Cost of Vision Problems: The Economic Burden of Vision Loss and Eye Disorders in the United States,” issued by the Prevent Blindness organization, identified cataracts as the leading cause of blindness worldwide, affecting more than 24 million Americans age 40 and older.

Estimated to cost $10.7 billion, it is second only to refractive error in diagnosis, medical costs attributable to low vision, medical vision aids, vision assistive devices and direct services including special education and assistance programs.

A clouding of the eye’s lens, cataracts block or change the passage of light into the eyes and, in many parts of the world, may spell the beginnings of blindness. Its exact cause is unknown but is generally accepted as part of the aging process. However, many other possible factors are thought to contribute to their formation:

  • Intense heat or long-term exposure to UV rays from the sun
  • Certain diseases, such as diabetes
  • Inflammation in the eye
  • Hereditary influences
  • Events before birth, such as German measles in the mother
  • Long-term steroid use
  • Eye injuries
  • Eye diseases
  • Smoking

In most of the developed world, however, cataract surgery can vastly improve a patient’s vision and is successful for 85 out of every 100 adults. In one large study, 95% of adult recipients were satisfied with the results of their surgery. Watch these testimonials from OCLI patients, doctors, and nurses who testify to its effectiveness and success.

For a variety of reasons, folks are uneasy about cataract surgery but the most notable is the risk their vision may worsen. Except in cases where other eye problems complicate the cataract condition, the procedure entails minimum risk and greatly enhances the lives of millions who are affected by this common age related problem, restoring their vision and allowing them to return to normal routines without the burden of poor sight. The elimination of double vision, light sensitivity and glare or poor night vision can give them a new lease on life.

As with any medical procedure, myths abound about the nature of cataract surgery:

  • Cataract surgery can only occur once the cataract is fully mature.
  • Cataracts can return again once they are removed.
  • Only old people get/need cataract surgery.
  • Cataract surgery is a difficult procedure to go through.

None of these myths have a basis in fact and with the most advanced technology in the world, patients in the U.S. need not suffer from the debilitating effects of cataracts as many in the rest of the world so often do.

With Grandparents’ Day approaching on September 7, why not take your older loved ones in for an eye exam soon? Dr. Silverman and his team of eye care experts at OCLI would be more than happy to set up an appointment to speak with you both about the treatment options available for any vision problems that might be affecting your loved ones’ quality of life. Contact us today at 973-664-7794, or fill out this contact form online.

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