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More Americans expected to develop cataracts: AAO says

08-02-2010 10:21 BJT

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Most Americans who live into their 70s and beyond face the possibility of developing cataracts, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) said on Sunday.

The rate of cataract will rise as people live longer, the AAO said in a news release.

The AAO stressed the importance to educate people on the risks and symptoms of cataract, what to do to delay onset, and how to decide when it's time for surgery.

If healthy lifestyle doesn't prevent the condition, surgery is 95 percent successful, according to eye experts.

The AAO suggested that people should get a baseline eye screening exam at age 40, when early signs of disease and vision change may begin to occur.

People of any age who have symptoms or are at risk for eye disease should make an appointment with an ophthalmologist to establish a care and follow-up plan, the AAO said.

Risk factors for cataract include family history, having diabetes, smoking, extensive exposure to sunlight, serious eye injury or inflammation, and prolonged use of steroids, especially combined use of oral and inhaled steroids.

People can reduce the risk for cataract by wearing UV-rated sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat when outdoors, and by not smoking. Patients with diabetes should carefully control their blood sugar levels through diet, exercise and, if needed, medications, according to the AAO.

If cataracts do develop, patients are urged to become well- informed about when to consider surgery, which has a success rate of more than 95 percent, the AAO advised. The decision should be based on how symptoms such as glare, halos, blurriness, dimmed colors or other cataract-related problems affect daily activities such as driving or reading.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: Xinhua

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