AAO names August cataract awareness month, urges those at risk to see their ophthalmologist

July 28, 2008

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has named August Cataract Awareness Month to remind those at risk for cataracts to see their ophthalmologist to determine whether they have a cataract and if it should be removed.

San Francisco-The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has named August Cataract Awareness Month to remind those at risk for cataracts to see their ophthalmologist to determine whether they have a cataract and if it should be removed. Risk factors besides aging of the eye include family history, medical problems (such as diabetes), injury to the eye, and medications, especially steroids.

Removal of a cataract is the most common surgery performed in the nation, amounting to 1.8 million people each year in the United States. More than 95% of those surgeries have no complications, according to the AAO.

"Cataract surgery is one of the most successful procedures available for restoring a patient's quality of life," said James Salz, MD, a clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and a clinical correspondent for the academy. "Technological advances in recent years have made cataract surgery faster, safer, more comfortable, and ultimately, more effective."

Sun exposure increases the risk of developing cataracts, so wearing UV-protective sunglasses or contact lenses and hats when outdoors for longer than 15 minutes, even on cloudy days, can reduce the risk. New research suggests eating plenty of dark green, leafy vegetables can defer the risk of developing cataracts.

More information on cataracts and how to preserve vision, as well as how to access care, is available on the academy-sponsored Web site http://www.geteyesmart.org.