Cataracts – Freedom Scientific
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Cataracts are the leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide. They are responsible for over 50% of the world’s blindness, over 20 million people. Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye that causes light to be diffused as it enters the eye, impacting the clarity of the visual image. Most cataracts are a natural result of aging, but they can also be due to trauma to the eye.

Comparison of cataract vision to normal visionWhat is a cataract? A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye. This causes light to be diffused as it enters the eye, impacting the clarity of the visual image. Cataracts usually develop quite slowly, so that people do not notice them until their vision is impacted. Common symptoms of cataracts are blurred vision, glare or light sensitivity, double vision, fading or yellowing of colors, poor night vision, and a need for increased light to read or perform close tasks.
While the most common cataracts are age-related, there are other types of cataracts that can result from diseases such as glaucoma, diabetes, or eye injury. Risk factors for cataracts include prolonged use of corticosteroids, excessive consumption of alcohol, smoking, and excessive exposure to sunlight. Usually cataracts develop in both eyes, but one may be worse than the other. Studies show an increased chance of cataract formation with unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. For this reason, doctors recommend using sunglasses that block UV radiation while outside, even on cloudy days.

What can be done if cataracts are diagnosed? The main treatment for a cataract is surgery to replace the damaged lens. This surgery can usually be performed on an out-patient basis. Approximately one-half million people each year in the United States have cataract surgery, most of them over age 65.

What devices can help? Most cataracts are treatable with cataract surgery. If cataract surgery is not an option, it is important to be able to magnify text and objects so they are large enough to be visible outside the clouded central vision area. Freedom Scientific’s line of video magnifiers and screen magnification software can help with this.

  • TOPAZ Desktop Video Magnifiers allow you to read magazines and letters, view family photos, write checks, or engage in your favorite hobby, all in the comfort of your home or office.
  • RUBY Handheld Video Magnifiers can slip comfortably into a pocket or purse, giving you easy access to photos, letters, menus, prescription labels, and so much more, wherever you go.
  • ONYX Portable Video Magnifiers move from school to home to the office to help you see the board, read your assignments, take notes, do crafts, or to read, write, and view business presentations.
  • SAPPHIRE Handheld Video Magnifier magnifies bills, bank statements, and even three-dimensional items like food labels and pill bottles for continued independence.
  • MAGic Screen Magnification Software provides screen magnification and screen reading for low vision computer users.