elderly woman with cataracts

The Facts About Cataracts and Medicare Advantage

Cataracts—occurring when a person’s eye lens clouds over—usually start small and may have little impact on vision in the early stages. The effects of cataracts, however, generally increase over time and lead to a person’s vision seeming dim, blurry, and cloudy.

Often painless, the primary symptoms of cataracts are:

  • Poor night vision
  • Faded or yellow colors
  • Increased sensitivity to light and glare
  • Double vision within one eye
  • Seeing halos

While anyone can develop cataracts, it is the leading cause of blindness for people over 40 and most common among people over 60.

Early Detection Can Have a Positive Effect

Routine vision care can increase the chances of catching cataracts early and improve one’s quality of life and prevent vision loss. The only true way to diagnose a cataract is through a non-invasive, dilated eye exam from an eye care professional.

The Center for Disease Control found that of the estimated 61 million U.S. adults at high risk for vision loss, only half visited an eye care professional in the last year. The CDC also estimates that many people with vision problems don’t get eye exams because they cannot afford them or lack insurance.

The symptoms of early cataracts can be mitigated through new and improved eyeglasses, anti-glare sunglasses, or brighter lighting. But if none of these measures help, an eye care professional may recommend cataract surgery to deal with the problem. Generally considered safe and highly effective, cataract surgery can pose some possible risks.

Medicare Advantage and Cataracts

Guidance received during a routine eye exam can help individuals protect their eyes and reduce their risk for cataracts. Such preventative measures include wearing sunglasses that provide UV protection anytime an individual is outside. And ensuring that prescription eyeglasses have a 100% UV protective coating can reduce the risk of developing cataracts.

There are other lifestyle changes an eye care professional can suggest during routine eye exams as well, including quitting smoking, eating healthy, and managing other chronic conditions, especially diabetes.

Through the guidance one receives from routine eye exams and the education from an eye care professional, outcomes can be improved, lifestyles can be enhanced, and expenses can be better managed. Without such early and ongoing guidance, individuals might be exposed to greater, costlier risk.

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