The American Association of Ophthalmology tells us that cataracts will affect as many as 22 million adults over the age of 40. Men and women over 80 have a fifty percent chance of developing this eye condition. This is significant because cataracts are a leading cause of blindness. The good news is that it is possible to remove a clouded lens and replace it with one that is suited to clear, crisp vision. As many of Dr. Giyaur’s patients have discovered, cataract surgery can lead to a better quality of life.
What Causes Cataracts?
Statistics demonstrate that age is a major factor in the development of cataracts. This is likely because numerous changes occur in the lens and surface of the eye over time. That being said, oxidation plays a role in the breakdown of a healthy lens, just as this process negatively affects other parts of the body. There is a cumulative effect in the eyes from years of stress, smoking, UV exposure, and factors related to general health and, at some point, it shows up in how we see the world around us.
Smoking and the Eyes
Smoking affects the eyes in a number of ways. First, free radicals are present in tobacco smoke. These molecules are highly unstable. They have been shown to weaken vital protein content in the lens of the eye, as well as the protective fibrous membrane. To fight free radicals, the body uses antioxidants. However, smoking causes antioxidants to be depleted, with allows oxidative damage to progress more rapidly. In one study on smoking and the eyes, it was found that smokers have a two-fold risk for cataracts compared to non-smokers.
Finding a Solution in Cataract Surgery
People affected by cataracts can experience significant improvement with cataract removal surgery. After the unhealthy lens is removed, it is replaced with an appropriate intraocular lens which will restore optimal vision, even correcting certain abnormalities such as nearsightedness. The replacement lens, or IOL, requires no special care. However, patients who smoke are encouraged to rethink this habit due to the ongoing process of oxidation. In addition to prolonging the results of cataract surgery, smoking cessation benefits overall health, as well!
See your world clearly. Call New York Laser Vision for your eye exam.