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Cataracts Awareness Month: Your guide to a clear future

Did you know that more than half of all Americans develop cataracts by the age of 80? While summer is the season you make plans that turn into lifelong memories, if you suffer from cataracts, those memories could become a blur. To help you understand cataracts better, Harbin Clinic has put together the information you need to keep those memories crystal clear.

What is a Cataract?

            A cataract occurs when the natural lens of the eye becomes cloudy. So, just like a camera lens, if it gets cloudy it doesn’t take a clear picture. People with cataracts often say that having cataracts is like looking through a foggy window. This can make daily tasks such as reading and driving difficult or even dangerous.

            A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens in your eye. This lens is located behind the iris which is the blue or brown colored part of the eye. The function of the lens is to focus the light around you onto your retina and create a clear image for you to see.  However, as you age, this lens becomes more cloudy and less flexible, and the images can be perceived as cloudy or blurry. Cataracts can form at any age, but they typically begin after the age of 40 or after injuries to the eye.

What are the risks?

            There are many risk factors that may increase your chances of developing cataracts. The most common causes are age and injury, but other risks include:

  • Diabetes
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Chronic steroid use

Taking Care of Your Vision

            Cataracts are a part of the aging process, and there is no guaranteed way to prevent a cataract from forming. It is recommended that you schedule regular eye appointments to document the presence and severity of cataracts as well as to look for other eye diseases. There are steps you can take that may reduce the likelihood of developing visually significant cataracts such as a healthy diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish. Wearing sunglasses while in direct sunlight and limiting the use of tobacco and alcohol are also good ways to reduce your risk of severe cataract formation. While these steps may reduce your risk of severe cataract formation, cataracts are a part of the aging process and cannot be completely prevented.

Don’t hesitate when it comes to your eye health. The Harbin Clinic Eye Center is prepared to educate, treat, and assist you on your path to clearer vision. The Harbin Clinic Eye Center located in Rome is the premier provider of comprehensive eye care. If you have concerns about any of the symptoms and risks listed above, schedule an appointment to talk with a Harbin Clinic provider. To learn more and to make an appointment, visit

Published June 29, 2022

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