Today is the last day of June and we couldn't let the month go by without highlighting Cataract Awareness Month. Cataract Awareness Month is celebrated in June and its purpose is to educate on the public risk factors, symptoms, and types of cataracts and cataract surgery. This is an important topic that's not talked about enough, especially in communities of color, because we often-times suffer from cataracts.
Cataracts are known as a clouding of the eye's lens which blocks light or change the passage of light into the eye. Typically, your lens will appear grey, white, yellow, and it will be pearly white in appearance. This causes your vision to either be blurry or completely obscured, and can lead to permanent blinding. It's important that we discuss how cataracts come about and we learn how we can take care of her eyes because this is information that is not often publicized. Especially during the summer months when the sun is out longer and it's more intense, it's important to shield your eyes and take proper care of them. Here are some facts about cataracts you may not have known:
Cataracts are the biggest cause of vision loss in the world
There are more cases of cataracts worldwide than there are of glaucoma
Sun exposure can increase your risk of cataracts do to UV rays breakdown of the proteins in your lens
The color of your eyes affect your risk of developing cataracts - Darker colored eyes are more prone to cataracts
There are a number of ways that you can prevent cataracts though. For one, it's important that you get regular eye examinations. While they are uncomfortable I'll admit, it's important that you routinely see a doctor to examine your eyes and ensure that there is no damage. Another big one which we encourage you to do this summer is wear sunglasses. Whether you're at the park, the beach, or just driving to get groceries, it's important that you wear sunglasses and protect your eyes. Many people are not aware that even if you are in the shade, reflections of the sun off of surfaces can still cause eye damage, and cause sensitivity to light. If you are outside, whether you're under a patio or an umbrella, you still need eye protection.
Another tip is invest in a good pair of sunglasses. We recommend sunglasses with SPF and polarized lenses because polarized lenses eliminate the amount of reflective light that enters your eyes, and they make images appear sharper and clearer which allows for better clarity and comfort when wearing your sunglasses. We also recommend getting more than one pair. We have all been offenders of losing our sunglasses in our bags, leaving them on restaurant tables or just leaving them in our car under a mess. If you were to lose your sunglasses every time you needed them, you would never have adequate eye protection when you need it. Order a good amount of quality sunglasses and have them on hand. Ordering those glasses will cost less than having to get surgery on your eyes.
So go out and have an awesome summer, but be sure to pack your sunglasses wherever you go. Your eyes will thank you for it!