June is cataract awareness month which means that we who are or are not blind have every reason to learn more about the condition and symptoms of cataracts. The Lighthouse for the Blind has a short synopsis here.
After all, the vast majority of those who reach eighty years old have experienced some form of cataracts. With that said, people as young as four to five years old can develop them, especially in tandem with another eye disease.
Believe me, I know. I can distinctly remember the fading colors as my mom drove me to nursery school when I was four. Sometimes, those colors would darken like when I mistook my friend’s blue-sided house for another nearby because it looked a shade of gray. The shimmering light and shrinking of farther away objects gave me the idea that my parents had realized all along. So at age four, we traveled down to Florida to visit one of the leading specialists in retinal detachments (my other major condition). It was then or soon thereafter, I was diagnosed as having cataracts along glaucoma.
Surgeries followed that early-in-life experience. But, because of the scarring on my retina and other deterioration, my cataracts were never removed.
That’s why awareness of cataracts is vitally important for both blind and sighted alike. If caught early, cataracts need not mean much loss of sight. However, as in the case of retinal detachment, if untreated, cataracts can lead to blindness that cannot be reversed.
So if you are blind or have low-vision, get your eyes checked regularly so as to discover any presence of cataracts. Or if you are a sighted friend or relative, encourage your blind friend or relative to keep on top of his/her eye care.
Yes, the fear of potential vision loss can numb you into complaisance, but that need not happen. Eye clinics are in every mid-sized to large city as are resources for coping with the damage caused by cataracts and many other eye conditions. As you learn to navigate life’s contours boldly blind, you have every reason to afford yourself of the many resources available to you.