Cataract Awareness Month
Prevent Blindness America (PBA) has declared June as Cataract Awareness Month in an effort to educate the public on the risk factors, symptoms, and treatment options of the world’s leading cause of blindness.
According to PBA, there are more cases of cataract globally than there are of glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy combined. Today, cataract affects more than 22 million Americans aged 40 and older. As the U.S. population ages, more than 30.1 million Americans are projected to have cataracts by the year 2020.
Risk factors for developing cataract include a family history of cataract, diabetes, smoking, extended exposure to UV rays, serious eye injury, and the use of steroids.
Americans spend $6.8 billion every year on direct medical costs for outpatient, inpatient, and prescription drug services for cataracts, according to “Economic Impact of Vision Problems: The Toll of Major Adult Eye Disorders, Visual Impairment, and Blindness on the U.S. Economy,” a 2007 study funded by PBA.
“We encourage everyone, especially those age 40 and over, to get a dilated, baseline eye exam from [their] eye care professional,” said Hugh R. Parry, PBA’s president and CEO.
PBA offers free information on cataracts in both English and Spanish, as well as the fact sheets Your Guide to Cataract Surgery and Medicare Benefits and Your Eyes. Call 800/331-2020 or visit www.preventblindness.org.