Talking to your patients about cataracts is important. And, most likely, a very common subject matter within your practice.
Check out this easy overview of the most frequently asked questions about cataracts, including potential cataract treatment and congenital cataracts.
What Are Cataracts?
Let your patients know that cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s natural lens and are the most common cause of vision issues in the world. As per Prevent Blindness America, more than 22 million Americans have cataracts! Ease your patients’ minds by letting them know cataracts are very common , and very treatable.
Who Gets Cataracts?
Inform patients that cataracts typically begin to form in people over the age of 40. However, it is typically after age 60 that cataracts cause problems with vision.
What Are the Signs or Symptoms of Cataracts?
As an eye care professional, you will want to inform your patients that cataracts start small and thus have little to no effect on their vision at first. However, folks begin to notice symptoms once the cataract is larger, wider and more strongly developed.
Symptoms of Having Cataracts Include:
- Blurry vision
- Cloudy or foggy vision
- The sensation that light from the sun or a lamp feels too bright or glaring, and causes discomfort
- More and stronger glare from oncoming car headlights while driving
- Colors start to appear more dim or faded
Cataract Causes: What Are They?
As you most likely know, patients want and need simple answers to their healthcare questions. Of course, they should get the right answers and complete answers – but easily understandable answers are best.
When a patient asks how cataracts are caused, you can let them know that as we age the natural protein in our eyes tend to clump together; this “clump” of proteins then covers a small area of the eye’s lens. Over time the clump can grow larger and cloud more of the lens. The cloud is what we refer to as a cataract.
When Patients Ask if Cataracts Can Be Prevented…
This is a question that shows a patient is involved and interested in their eye health! Should this question be presented to you, you can simply answer that cataracts are a common part of the aging process and there is not anything that can be done to prevent the potential growth of cataracts.
However, there are a number of things that your patients can try in order to reduce the risk of developing cataracts. Nutrients such as vitamin E and vitamin C are believed to reduce cataract risk. Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet can help. What’s more, wearing sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV rays can reduce cataract risk.
When Patients Ask About Cataract Treatment…
Let your patients know that cataract treatment can vary from person to person depending on their particular diagnosis. For example, when symptoms first begin to appear patients may simply be given new, stronger prescription glasses.
Should the cataract progress far enough to impede vision, cataract surgery will become an option. As the most frequently performed surgical procedure in the United States, cataract surgery is very successful!