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Q: What causes cataracts, and what are the symptoms?

Posted August 13, 2014 in Advice Column, Norwalk

A: Cataracts are a leading cause of blindness among older adults, and half of all Americans have cataracts by the time they are 80 years old. A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens which blocks or changes the passage of light into the eye. Unlike many eye diseases, vision loss due to cataract can be restored.

The exact cause of a cataract is unknown, but most often a cataract is part of getting older. As you age, you are at greater risk of developing a cataract. There also are several risk factors for cataracts: intense heat or long-term exposure from the sun, diabetes, inflammation in the eye, hereditary, eye disease or injuries.

Some of the symptoms of a cataract might be blurred vision, double vision, lights seem to dim for reading or close-up work or your eyeglass prescription changes often but does not help your vision.

Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed procedures in the United States and has a 95 percent success rate.

Information provided by Tami Dickeson, Norwalk Nursing and Rehab, 921 Sunset Drive, Norwalk, 515-981-0604.

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