"The Healthy Geezer" answers questions about health and aging in his weekly column.
Question: I'm 67 years old. Should I expect to get cataracts eventually?
Answer: A cataract is a clouding of the lens, the clear part of the eye that helps focus images like the lens in a camera.
Most cataracts are related to aging. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. There are other causes of cataracts such as diabetes, eye injury, radiation and surgery for other eye problems.
Cataracts tend to worsen gradually. The clear lens slowly changes to a yellowish/brownish color, adding a brownish tint to vision. If you have advanced lens discoloration, you may not be able to identify blues and purples.
The most common symptoms of a cataract are: blurred images, faded colors, glare, poor night vision, double vision, and frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses. If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor, because they can be signs of other eye problems.
If you are 60 or older, you should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once every two years. In addition to cataract, your eye-care professional can check for signs of age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and other vision disorders. Early treatment for many eye diseases may save your sight.
If you would like to read more columns, you can order a copy of "How to be a Healthy Geezer" at http://www.healthygeezer.com.
All rights reserved © 2012 by Fred Cicetti
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