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SOURCE American Academy of Ophthalmology
Eye physicians and surgeons clear up the facts about the lens-clouding eye condition
SAN FRANCISCO, June 3, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Cataract is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. Approximately 24.5 million Americans have the lens-clouding eye condition, and the incidence is set to grow by 50 percent by 2020. As part of its efforts to support Cataract Awareness Month this June, the American Academy of Ophthalmology – the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons – is sharing with the public hundreds of commonly-asked questions and answers about the condition, which affects more than half of all Americans by age 80.
If not treated through a change in eyeglass prescription or surgery, cataracts can increase risk of permanent blindness. In addition, the longer advanced cataracts are left untreated, the more difficult it can be to successfully remove the cataract and restore vision. To help people understand the condition, its causes and treatments, Academy member ophthalmologists – medical doctors specializing in the diagnosis, medical and surgical treatment of eye diseases and conditions – have responded to hundreds of queries about cataracts submitted by the public through the Ask an Eye M.D. portal on GetEyeSmart.org. The following five questions and answers about cataracts are a small sampling of what is available for public reference on the website:
"While cataracts are one of the most common eye conditions – especially for older adults – when and why to seek treatment and what kind can be a complex decision," said Daniel J. Briceland, M.D., ophthalmologist and clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "Some people wait too long before seeing a doctor about a suspected cataract, but they should really see an ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye exam. Even if immediate treatment is not required, at least an ophthalmologist can confirm this and have a baseline from which to compare your vision if and when the cataract worsens later on."
Seniors who have not had an eye exam in the last three years and for whom cost is a concern may qualify for EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, which provides eye exams and care at no out-of-pocket cost for eligible seniors age 65 and older through its network of more than 6,000 volunteer ophthalmologists. Visit www.eyecareamerica.org to see if you or your loved ones are eligible.
About the American Academy of Ophthalmology
The American Academy of Ophthalmology, headquartered in San Francisco, is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons - Eye M.D.s - with more than 32,000 members worldwide. Eye health care is provided by the three "O's" – ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who has the education and training to treat it all: eye diseases, infections and injuries, and perform eye surgery. For more information, visit www.aao.org. The Academy's EyeSmart® program educates the public about the importance of eye health and empowers them to preserve healthy vision. EyeSmart provides the most trusted and medically accurate information about eye diseases, conditions and injuries. OjosSanos™ is the Spanish-language version of the program. Visit www.geteyesmart.org or www.ojossanos.org to learn more.
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