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Cataract Awareness Month

March is Cataract Awareness Month.  Cataracts are simply a thickening of the lens in the eye, which can result from heredity, aging, diabetes, infections, or the use of certain medications like steroids.  The major symptom  is a progressive, painless loss of vision.  Depending upon the location of the cataract, certain types of vision may be affected more than others.

There are several conditions that can affect vision, so it's a good idea to have regular, annual check-ups with your eye doctor once you reach 40.  Before then, adults should have an eye exam every 2-3 years.  If an early cataract is detected, doctors will recommend more frequent checkups and eyeglass prescription changes.  Surgery is recommended if eyeglasses are no longer able to provide the visual function necessary for driving, reading or other activities.  This can generally be performed with local anesthesia as an outpatient.  A new lens is generally implanted as part of the procedure, and patients will take antibiotics and steroid drops for 4 weeks after surgery.  Surgical success rates are high for patients with uncomplicated cases.

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Created: 3/9/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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