How Common Are Cataracts?

You have probably heard of the eye disorder “cataracts." If you are over the age of sixty and suffering from blurred vision, then there is a good chance that you have cataracts.

Cataracts are a common age-related eye disorder. In fact, they’re so common that they are the most common cause of vision loss for people over the age of 40, and one of the primary causes of blindness around the world. On an international scale, cataracts are more common than glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy altogether.

How many people have cataracts?

According to Prevent Blindness America (BPA), cataracts affect more than 22 million Americans over the age of 40. In America alone, over 30 million Americans are projected to have cataracts by the year of 2020.

Most common types of cataracts

There are multiple types of cataracts, depending on how they form and their causes. The lens is the clear part of your eye that helps your retina focus light and images. The retina is light-sensitive tissue that is located at the back of your eye. In healthy eyes, light is filtered through the transparent lens to the retina, which is changed into a nerve signal that is recognized by the brain.

For the image to be perceived clearly, the lens also has to be clear. When the lens becomes cloudy from a cataract, you’re left with a blurry image. Types of cataracts are characterized by the area of the lens that becomes clouded.

There are three main types of cataracts, and some of them are more common than the other:
  • Subcapsular cataracts. These kinds of cataracts begin behind the lens, and they are more common in people with diabetes, or patients taking high doses of steroid medications.
  • Nuclear cataracts. Nuclear cataracts begin in the central zone, also known as the nucleus, of the lens. These kinds of cataracts are typically associated with the natural aging process.
  • Cortical cataracts. Cortical cataracts are distinguished by white, wedge shaped opacities that begin in the edges of your lens, then make their way to the center of the lens in a spoke-like pattern. Cortical cataracts start in the cortex of the lens, which is the area of the lens outside of the nucleus.

How are Cataracts Diagnosed?

Detecting Cataracts
Like most eye disorders, cataracts are detected with comprehensive eye exams, including the following tests:

  • Visual acuity test. If you’ve been to an ophthalmologist for your annual exam, you have taken the test. Visual acuity tests measure your vision through a series of eye charts at various distances.
  • Dilated eye exam. With dilated eye exams, eye drops are placed in your eye to dilate the pupils. This allows us to examine your retina and optic nerve with a magnifying glass for signs of damage and other eye disorders. After your dilated eye exam, you might experience blurred vision for a few hour.
We also might perform more extensive tests to discern more about your eye’s structure and health.

Think You Have Cataracts?

Are you worried that you might be one of the 22 million Americans suffering from cataracts? Dr. Ahdoot at Progressive Ophthalmology in Sunnyside, Queens, NY offers exceptional patient care for patients in the Queens area. With ample experience in diagnosing and treating cataracts, he will get to the root of your eye disorder, so you can start seeing things clearly again. Call our office today to schedule an appointment at 718-565-2020.