While the exact causes of cataracts are still not entirely understood, annual eye exams are still important for the diagnoses and treatment of their formation. Even with precautions and regular exams, by the year 2020, more than 30 million Americans are expected to develop cataracts.
Most cataracts occur gradually as we age and don’t become bothersome until after age 55. However, cataracts can also be present at birth (congenital cataracts) or occur at any age as the result of an injury to the eye (traumatic cataracts). Cataracts can also be caused by diseases such as diabetes or can occur as the result of long-term use of certain medications. While typically forming in both eyes, cataracts may not grow at the same rate. They can develop slowly or quickly, or progress to a certain point, then not get any worse. As a result, one may not notice substantial changes in their sight. Sometimes they can significantly precede symptoms and can be so subtle as to go unnoticed without a comprehensive eye exam.
June is Cataract Awareness Month and while many people may consider cataracts to simply be an inevitable aspect of aging, there is a great deal more to know and understand. Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States, and the leading cause of blindness in the world. Although 24 million Americans over the age of 40 are affected by cataracts, the condition is more complex and nuanced than most may realize.
A cataract is an opacification of the natural lens, which inhibits or distorts the passage of light into the eye. The lens, located behind the pupil and iris, is typically transparent and transmits light onto the retina – the resulting signals become pictures in the brain.
Almost all of us realize and accept that as we age, we are likely to develop a cataract. However, the exact causes are still not entirely understood. Besides the natural aging process, there are several other possible risk factors for cataracts, such as:
Intense heat or long-term exposure to UV rays from the sun Certain diseases, such as diabetes Inflammation in the eye Hereditary influences Events before birth, such as German measles in the mother Long-term steroid use Eye …
When 29-year-old Emmy came to see Uwe Canting, OD at Canting Optometry in Cary, NC, she was relatively certain that her eye was fine, but wanted to seek reassurance from her optometrist. Emmy had received a high-impact, full-blown soccer ball to the eye during a soccer match the preceding day and while having no symptoms other than slight discomfort from the bruising, she realized that the impact was severe enough that something unseen may have occurred.
Canting notes that Emmy presented with a black eye OD, while her visual acuity was 20/20. “The eye itself looked fine. Other than the ecchymosis, there were no immediate concerns. There was no apparent subconjunctival hemorrhage and no recession of the iris. But, while dilated, I could see instantly that it was not normal and decided to capture an optomap image. Sure enough, the image clearly showed the whitish sheen of Commotio retinae superiorly temporal.” Canting recalls, “The beauty of this situation was that I had her optomap image from her last visit and I could show her, clearly and tangibly, what had occurred in her eye.”
As summer draws near, most of us long for the glorious warmth of the sun and we dream about, and plan for, the recreation we will enjoy. Unfortunately, while awareness of the importance of sunscreen and UV protective clothing has increased, the impacts of all that fun-in-the-sun on the eyes is still often overlooked. Most people do not realize that 20% of all cataracts are the result of UV ray exposure, and that number has been dramatically increasing in recent years.
But what is this invisible threat exactly? And how does it impact us? Ultraviolet radiation is measured in nanometers (nm). It is categorized in three basic terms and classified by the strength of the UV ray:
UVC: These rays are below 280 nm. The upper atmosphere absorbs these so they do not reach us, therefore protection from these rays is not overly necessary. UVB: These are between 315 – 380 nm. These manage to make it to the earth’s surface and are notorious for damaging sight. They can cause snow blindness, but are notably responsible for sunburn and several types of skin cancer. Research has shown that these rays are strongest during the summer and at …
For over 25 years, Optos has been Delivering on Dreams at Work with regard to ultra-widefield(UWF™) retinal imaging. And we will continue to deliver on our dream at work – enabling all Vision Source doctors to make optomap their primary choice for retinal imaging.
optomap is the ONLY:
• Single-capture 200° UWF retinal image • UWF retinal imaging technology supported by 500+ clinical papers • UWF retinal imaging product in over 1800 Vision Source practices
Connect with us at the Exchange, booth #701 or at one of our sessions listed below:
CE – Diabetes. Seeing is Believing. What Surprises Are In Store for You? Wednesday, May 2 Doctors Jeffry Gerson and Laurie Sorrenson
Exhibit Theatre Sessions (limited to the first 32 guests) Thursday, May 3 8:30 – 8:50pm David Nelson, OD optomap af – beyond color retinal imaging
Friday, May 4 11:30– 11:50am Alex Martin, OD Learn how your staff can affect acceptance and utilization of optomap in your practice
7:00 – 7:20pm Brad Yates, VP of Product Management Advance your knowledge of OptosAdvance image management and the key benefits of OptosCloud.