Cataracts are often thought of as something that only older people will have. Though it’s true that the older you are, the more likely you are to have cataracts, cataracts can affect you at any age.
Rarely, some people are even born with congenital cataracts. But even for cataracts associated with aging, being 40 or older puts you at risk.
When it comes to treating cataracts with cataract surgery, age usually isn’t a factor to consider. Instead, the severity of your cataracts and your health will determine whether you should have surgery. Keep reading to learn more about cataract surgery!
Cataract Risk Factors
Besides being 40 or older, there are several factors that can increase your risk of developing cataracts. These include:
- Having diabetes
- Frequent and unprotected exposure to sunlight
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Tobacco use
- Being obese
- Corticosteroid use
- Having high blood pressure or suffering from hypertension
You are more likely to develop cataracts if you have any of these pre-existing conditions or habits. While you can’t prevent cataracts, you can lower your risk by avoiding what factors you can.
If you live a healthy life with a balanced diet, plenty of exercise, and good habits, you’re less likely to develop cataracts early on. But no matter how healthy you are, you may still develop cataracts as you get older.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Cataracts occur when the normally clear lens in your eye becomes cloudy. Chemical changes, usually due to age, cause the cells in your eyes to become more opaque over time.
Often, cataracts take years to develop, so symptoms can appear slowly. The most common symptoms include:
- Blurry vision
- Light sensitivity
- Halos around light sources
- Difficulty seeing contrast
- Difficulty seeing in low light
It’s difficult to spot these symptoms since they usually develop slowly over time. That’s why it’s so important to have regular eye exams with your eye doctor.
This is especially true once you turn 40. By seeing an eye doctor on a regular basis, you can have your cataracts diagnosed before they cause problems. This also allows your doctor to monitor their severity and suggest treatment once necessary.
When to Have Surgery
Most doctors recommend having cataract surgery when your cataracts impact your quality of life. Age is less of a factor here than how long you’ve had cataracts and how far they’ve advanced.
No matter what age you are when you have cataract surgery, it’s a very low-risk procedure to undergo. It is one of the most performed medical procedures in the country.
The good news is that it’s unlikely you can be too young to have cataract surgery. But if your cataracts aren’t making it hard to perform daily tasks, chances are you don’t need cataract surgery yet.
You may never need cataract surgery if they develop slowly and don’t impact your vision. But no matter what your age, if your cataracts are making it difficult to live your life, it may be time to have surgery.
Think that you may have cataracts? Schedule a cataract screening at Shepherd Eye Center in Las Vegas, NV with one of our expert ophthalmologists today! Why wait any longer if cataracts are making it difficult to live your life?