Age-related cataracts and cataract surgery

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August is the Cataract Awareness Month in the United States. The American Academy of Ophthalmology takes this opportunity to propagate certain knowledge of cataracts every year. Cataract is definitely one of the most common diseases among the senior. Even if there are hereditary and drug-induced cataracts, a majority of cataract cases is age-related. In fact, there are many factors that increase the rate of developing cataracts, e.g. family history, diabetes, smoking, sunlight exposure, eye injury, eye inflammation and prolonged steroid use. Until now, resorting to a cataract surgery is nearly the single way to cure this disease.

Determine the time of cataract removal

Another frequently asked question is that when cataracts should be surgically removed. The American Academy of Ophthalmology says that this is to a large extent a personal decision, which is mainly based on the degree of visual problems perceived by the patients. Once symptoms such as blurred vision, glare, halos and poor color perception affect daily activities including driving, working and reading, it is the time to remove cataracts. On one hand, tiny cataract is not big enough to be removed. On the other hand, advanced cataract affects a large portion of the lens and involves more surgical risks. Choosing a right time to get it surgically removed is an important yet challenging task. Certainly, it is advisable to get an advice from an eye professional or surgeon.

Adverse conditions after cataract surgery and possible reasons

Adverse conditions such as detached retina and intraocular floppy iris syndrome may occur after cataract surgery. Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a study claimed that tamsulosin consumption in two weeks before cataract surgery can raise the incidence of the complications mentioned above. In general, tamsulosin products including Flomax, Flomaxtra and Urimax are used to relieve urination difficulty caused by an enlarged prostate. But these male prostate drugs are now reported to cause side effects of cataract surgery.

A possible way to prevent or delay age-related eye diseases

Cataracts and age-related macular degeneration are closed linked with natural aging. A research carried out by the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory involving 41,000 runners found that these runners had a much lower risk of developing these two eye diseases, partially because this group experiences slower body aging. As we know, regular eye exams are critical for the detection of age-related eye diseases. But the study suggests that older people can do more to prevent visual problems. A fitness regimen including vigorous exercise such as running and walking is suggested to be helpful in reducing age-related eye diseases.