June is Cataract Awareness Month: Could You Benefit from a Low Vision Rehab Program?

cataract awareness

Cataracts are a leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 40. Usually, cataracts don’t cause problems early on, but they can eventually interfere with healthy vision. This can make it difficult to do basic tasks like read, cook or drive. Fortunately, cataract surgery is a safe and effective procedure that fixes most cataracts. However, not all cataracts are operable.

June is Cataract Awareness Month, so this is a good time to talk about what cataracts are, the treatments that are available and how a low vision rehabilitation program can help.

What are Cataracts? What Causes Them?

A cataract is a clouding of the clear lens of your eye. They usually develop through the normal aging process or an injury that changes the tissues of the lens. Most cataracts develop slowly and won’t interfere with healthy vision, but this is only temporary. Over time, the cataracts will affect your vision and make it difficult to see, even with glasses or stronger lighting.

The signs and symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Cloudiness or blurred vision
  • Increasing difficulty seeing at night
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Seeing “halos” around lights
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Fading or yellowing of colors
  • Frequent changes in lens prescriptions

When Should I Consider Cataract Surgery?

When prescription glasses no longer improve your vision, the only effective treatment is cataract surgery. Most doctors recommend this procedure once the cataracts affect your quality of life. Cataract surgery is generally safe and involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with a new artificial lens.

Because cataracts don’t harm the eye, it’s up to you and your doctor as to when cataract surgery should be done. However, not all cataracts are operable. For example, once cataracts reach an advanced stage, they can be more difficult to remove and cause surgical complications.

How Can a Low Vision Rehabilitation Program Help?

If you are not a candidate for cataract surgery but are experiencing vision impairment, you may benefit from a low vision rehabilitation program, such as the one offered through Doctor’s Choice. This program works with people who have inoperable cataracts as well as other vision complications like macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma.

In a program of this sort, a licensed occupational therapist helps people with low vision to safely and independently perform their daily responsibilities. With this assistance, you will learn how to maximize your vision within your home setting, as well as learn how to use adaptive techniques and optical and non-optical devices.

If you have questions about treating your cataracts and the possibility of joining a low vision rehab program, talk to your doctor. They will be able to assess your personal circumstances and the best approach for living safely and independently at home.

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