Browse By Topic: Cataracts

A cataract is a progressive cloudiness, hardening, and yellowing of the normally transparent lens of the eye. Learn more about cataracts and cataract surgery, as well as other eye conditions that can cause low vision: age-related macular degeneration, macular hole, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa. You can also find helpful tips and techniques for everyday living skills and reading and writing, along with helpful products and low vision devices. Register to receive alerts and news relating to vision loss, including the latest updates in medical research.

May Is Healthy Vision Month: Make Your Eye Health a Priority and Learn How to Protect Your Vision

May is Healthy Vision Month, a national eye health observance established by the National Eye Institute (NEI) in May 2003. NEI is part of the National Institutes of Health, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. This year, NEI is encouraging women to make eye health a priority and has designated four women as ambassadors – including VisionAware's Audrey Demmitt – who share their


H.R.2050: The Medicare Demonstration of Coverage of Low Vision Devices Act of 2017 Needs Your Advocacy and Support

Dome of the U.S. Capitol The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Public Policy Center has announced the reintroduction of federal legislation that seeks to establish a nationwide Medicare demonstration project to evaluate the fiscal impact of a permanent change in Medicare coverage that would, for the first time, provide reimbursement for low vision devices. The AFB Public Policy Center, in Washington, DC, collaborates with policy


Understanding Our Shifting Health Insurance Landscape – and What It Means for People with Vision Loss

Rebecca Sheffield, Ph.D. Guest blogger Rebecca Sheffield, Ph.D., is the Senior Policy Researcher with the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. The AFB Public Policy Center collaborates with policy makers in Congress and the Executive Branch to ensure that Americans with vision loss have equal rights and opportunities to fully participate in society. She also is the author of two important and helpful Public Policy Center publications:


What Is It Like to Have Low Vision? A New Sight Simulator Can Help You Understand

How the world can lookwith low vision A query I receive frequently from readers is how to describe their low vision or vision loss to fully sighted family members and friends, who may find it difficult to understand how functional vision can vary significantly from one day to the next, or from daytime to nighttime. While some basic explanations do exist (cataracts = blurriness; glaucoma = "tunnel" vision), they rarely suffice, and accurately describing what one can – and cannot – see has remained an elusive and unsatisfying quest. Now, however,


Our Readers Want to Know: What Does It Mean When My Eye Doctor Tells Me I Have "Low Vision"?

Editor's note: One of the many benefits associated with an online information center and website, such as VisionAware, is the ability to track readers' search terms [i.e., information readers are seeking as they search online]. Of particular concern to many readers are issues related to the diagnosis and treatment of low vision, as evidenced by the following searches: I've been told I have low vision, but what does this mean? How is low vision different from blindness? Is there a cure for low vision? An Answer from VisionAware: What


Meet Joseph Fontenot, MD, CVLT: Be Informed and Proactive About Low Vision Services, Protect Yourself, and Always "Buyer Beware"

Joseph Fontenot,M.D., CLVT Dr. Joseph Fontenot is a medical doctor, Certified Low Vision Therapist, and Medical Director of Community Services for Vision Rehabilitation (CSVR), with offices in Alabama and Mississippi. He is also the current Chair of the American Academy of Ophthalmology's Vision Rehabilitation Committee. In that role,


A Powerful New Report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: Making Eye and Vision Health an Imperative for All Americans

The National Academiesof Sciences, Engineering,and Medicine logo Several recent United States-based eye and vision research projects, including the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study and the Philadelphia Glaucoma Detection and Treatment Project, have highlighted significant disparities in the quality and equity of eye care throughout the country, including barriers within the health care and public


New Research Exploring Public Attitudes About Eye and Vision Health: Losing Vision Is Equal to Losing Hearing, Memory, Speech, or a Limb

New survey research from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Chicago that explores Americans' attitudes toward (a) the importance of eye health, (b) concerns about losing vision, (c) support for eye health research, and (d) awareness of eye diseases and risk factors has also revealed that the loss of eyesight is considered by many survey respondents to be "the worst ailment that could happen … relative to losing memory, speech, hearing, or a limb." According to the authors, "These findings emphasize the importance of focusing on the preservation of eye health and public support for vision research across all ethnic and racial groups in


New Research: The Number of Older Americans with Visual Impairment or Blindness Is Expected To Double By 2050

According to new demographic research addressing blindness, vision impairment, and low vision, the number of older Americans who have visual impairments or are blind is projected to double by 2050. This important – and urgent – research, entitled Visual Impairment and Blindness in Adults in the United States: Demographic and Geographic Variations from 2015 to 2050, has been published "online first" in the May 19, 2016 edition of JAMA


New Research: Automobile Side Windows Do not Offer Sufficient Protection from UV Light, Increase the Risk of Cataracts and Other Eye Diseases

United States government regulations require automobile windshields to be made with laminated glass to lessen potential injury when shattered. The combination of laminated glass and extra-thick glass in front windshields provides protection against ultraviolet-A radiation. However, new research from California indicates that automobile side windows do not provide the same level of protection against ultraviolet-A radiation compared to the front-facing windshield, which may increase the risk of cataracts and skin cancer for frequent drivers. In addition, there is


There is Hope; There is Help: Part 1 in a Series on Low Vision and Low Vision Services by Bryan Gerritsen, CLVT

Guest blogger Bryan Gerritsen is a certified low vision therapist (CLVT) and owner of Low Vision Rehabilitation Services, providing low vision services throughout Utah. He is also the author of An Overview of Low Vision Devices,


New Research: Stepped Care for Coping with Age-Related Vision Loss, Depression, and Anxiety

New research from Europe indicates that stepped care – a type of treatment that can offer self-help and "as needed" options for coping with age-related vision loss and depression – can offer promise in dealing with depression and anxiety in visually impaired older adults. Further, this stepped care approach (detailed below) could lead to standardized strategies for the screening, monitoring, treatment, and referral of visually impaired older adults with vision-related depression and anxiety. From the British Medical Journal (BMJ) The research, entitled


Our Readers Want to Know: Why Am I Having Visual Hallucinations Along with My Vision Loss?

Editor's note: One of the many benefits associated with an online information center and website, such as VisionAware, is the ability to track readers' search terms [i.e., information readers are seeking as they search the Internet]. Since the earliest days of VisionAware.org, and more so during the past year, the following questions appear consistently within our top searches: I'm seeing things that I know aren't there. What is wrong with me? I'm nervous because I see people in my house, but I know they're not really there. Why is this happening? An Answer from VisionAware <img src="http://www.afb.org/image.asp?ImageID=3758" alt="Engraving of Charles Bonnet in profile.


AFB Press Releases New Edition of Making Life More Livable: Simple Adaptations for Living at Home after Vision Loss

by Mary D'Apice, VisionAware Contributing Writer An interview with Maureen A. Duffy, CVRT, Author Making Life More Livable Agencies that provide services to people who are blind or visually impaired offer vision rehabilitation to the 5.3 million Americans over 65 with


I Have A Cataract, What Now?

By Frank J. Weinstock, MD, FACS. Dr. Weinstock is an ophthalmologist, board-certified,with extensive experience in practice management, and in medical and surgical ophthalmology. He is a Professor of Ophthalmology NEOMED, Affiliate Clinical Professor in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, and Volunteer Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Editor's note: With World Sight Day


Good Nutrition and Eye Health: They're Connected!

Guest blogger Audrey Demmitt, RN, BSN, is a nurse diabetic educator, VisionAware Peer Advisor, AFB Career Connect mentor, and author of the VisionAware multi-part blog series on diabetes and diabetes education. At age 25, Audrey was diagnosed with


Meet Doug Anzlovar and the New "Low Vision Focus @ Hadley" Program at The Hadley School for the Blind

Doug Anzlovar is the Vice President of Education and Training at The Hadley School for the Blind, where he serves as a member of the administrative team, oversees a 31-member faculty, is involved in curriculum decisions and policy development, and oversees the Low Vision Focus @ Hadley program. Prior to joining Hadley, Doug worked as a teacher of the visually impaired in the Chicago Public Schools for nearly 10 years. While at Walter Payton College Preparatory High School in Chicago, Doug developed a resource program for students with visual impairments and later became chair


Our Readers Want to Know: What Is the Role of Lasers in Cataract Surgery?

Editor's note: One of the many benefits associated with an online information center and website, such as VisionAware, is the ability to track readers' search terms [i.e., information readers are seeking as they search the Internet]. Since the earliest days of VisionAware.org, the following questions about cataracts and cataract surgery consistently rank within the top ten searches and are especially relevant during Cataract Awareness Month: Is it true that cataract surgery now can be performed entirely by laser? How can I find out more about laser surgery for cataracts? An Answer from Tina D. Turner, M.D. <img src="/image.asp?ImageID=3483" style="margin:0 10px 10px 0;" alt="Tina D.


New Research: Top-Selling Eye Supplements Lack Scientific Evidence, Make Unsupported Claims

An American research group has concluded that claims made about top-selling eye vitamin brands and products in the United States lack concrete scientific evidence supported by clinical trial outcomes. The researchers also determined that many of the most heavily promoted and top-selling products do not contain ingredients and dosages identical to "eye vitamin" formulas that have been proven effective in the Age-Related Eye Disease Studies (AREDS and AREDS2), sponsored by the National Eye


New Research: Patients not Referred for Low Vision Services in a Timely and Efficient Manner

Last month, at the 2014 American Academy of Optometry Annual Meeting, a group of student researchers from the New England College of Optometry presented survey data that identified (a) patient barriers to low vision services and (b) the actions optometrists can take to improve the efficiency of referrals to low vision specialists. Their research revealed a discrepancy between


Alzheimer Research: Cataract Surgery for People with Dementia Improves Vision and Quality of Life

Results from a new clinical trial, presented at the July 2014 Alzheimer's Association International Conference, suggest that cataract surgery may slow mental decline in people with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Preliminary study results indicate that improved vision, resulting from cataract surgery, can have a variety of benefits – both visual and non-visual – for people with dementia. The


Our Readers Want to Know: How Is a Vision Screening Different from a Comprehensive Eye Exam?

Editor's note: One of the many benefits associated with an online information center and website, such as VisionAware, is the ability to track readers' search terms [i.e., information readers are seeking as they search the Internet]. Since the earliest days of VisionAware.org, the following questions about eye exams consistently rank within the top information searches: How can I keep my eyes healthy and prevent eye disease? What is the difference between a full eye examination and a shorter vision screening? About Healthy Vision Month During


Surprising New Research from the National Eye Institute on Surgical Options for Congenital Cataracts

For adults who undergo cataract surgery, implantation of an artificial lens, also called an intraocular [i.e., within the eye] lens, or IOL, has been the standard of care for many years. However, an ongoing clinical trial, sponsored in part by the National Eye Institute, suggests that for many infants, surgery followed by the use of contact lenses for several years – and an eventual lens implant – may be a better solution. The research, entitled


New Research from Australia: Does Cataract Surgery Increase the Risk of Falling?

A new Australian study suggests (but does not definitively prove) that older adults with cataracts appear to double their risk of falling after cataract surgery on the first eye and before surgery on the second. The finding that cataract surgery may – at least temporarily – be linked to an increase in falls comes after years of conflicting study results on the subject. The research, entitled


When the Eyes Play Tricks: Charles Bonnet Syndrome Explains Visual Hallucinations in Those With Visual Impairments

Editor's note: Information about Charles Bonnet Syndrome is of major interest to our visitors. It is often misunderstood by people experiencing the visual hallucinations and by professionals. So Mary D'Apice, VisionAware peer adviser, decided to share Dolores's story to enlighten readers. Visual Hallucinations One night, 75-year-old Dolores woke up to find a huge tree growing beside her bed. Dolores is not a character out of a fiction story but one of many individuals who experience visual hallucinations brought on by vision loss. Dolores later learned


Our Readers Want to Know: When Should I Have Cataract Surgery?

Editor's note: One of the many benefits associated with an online information center and website, such as VisionAware, is the ability to track readers' search terms [i.e., information readers are seeking as they search the Internet]. Since the earliest days of VisionAware.org, the following questions about cataract surgery consistently rank within the five most popular searches: When should an individual have cataract surgery? How long is the recovery time after cataract surgery? An Answer from Tina D. Turner, M.D. This week, our answer comes from


A New Low Vision Publication from the Council of Citizens with Low Vision International

The Council of Citizens with Low Vision International (CCLVI) has just published Insights into Low Vision, a compilation of tools, tips, techniques, and research updates for peer advocates, family members, professionals, and individuals with low vision. Here is more information about this much-needed publication from the CCLVI website: CCLVI's new publication, Insights into Low Vision … has articles by 26 authors, all nationally-known specialists in


VisionExchange: A Support Group for Support Group Leaders by Guest Blogger Polly Abbott, CVRT

In honor of Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (VRT) Appreciation Week (June 23-29), VisionAware is featuring the work of talented VRTs throughout the United States. Polly Abbott is a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (CVRT), an Orientation and Mobility Specialist with a background in education, and Director of Rehabilitation Services at Second Sense in Chicago,


Meet Award-Winning Visually Impaired Photographer Craig Royal

"If you have vision loss, don't lose sight of the beauty of life. If you have lost sight of the beauty of life, you are truly blind." ~ Craig Royal, fine art photographer Craig Royal is an award-winning visually impaired fine art photographer and photo artist. Here is more information, in Craig's own words, from the Craig Royal Fine Art Photography website: I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), where I concentrated in woodworking and furniture design. I received a professional fellowship from the Virginia Museum of Fine Art


A New Low Vision Resource from the National Eye Institute

The National Eye Institute (NEI) has released a 20-page, full-color, large print booklet with companion videos, in support of Low Vision Awareness Month, February 2013. The booklet and videos were developed by NEI's National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP). The mission of NEI, a part of the National Institutes of Health, is to "conduct and support research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to blinding eye diseases, visual disorders, mechanisms of visual function, preservation of sight, and the special health


Positive Phase III Clinical Trial Results for Totally Blind Persons with Sleep Disorders

On January 23, 2013, Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced positive Phase III clinical trial results from the recently completed Randomized-withdrawal study of the Efficacy and Safety of Tasimelteon (RESET) study; in addition, on December 18, 2012, Vanda announced positive Phase III clinical trial results from the Safety and Efficacy of Tasimelteon (SET) study. Tasimelteon is an experimental drug treatment for totally blind individuals with no light perception who experience a sleep problem called "Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder." In the United States, this disorder affects approximately 65,000 totally blind


New Developments in Glaucoma Treatment: Micro-Stents

Year One results from the HYDRUS I clinical trial of the Hydrus Microstent, which has the potential for long-term reduction of intraocular [i.e., within the eye] pressure in patients with open-angle glaucoma, were presented at the 2012 American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting, held from November 10-13 in Chicago, Illinois. Ivantis, Inc., an Irvine, California-based company


Cataracts and Alzheimer's Disease: Are They Related?

Recently, I learned about a fascinating study in which researchers have proposed a possible (but not proven) genetic link between Alzheimer's disease and age-related cataracts. The Public Library of Science (PLoS) The study, entitled Delta-Catenin Is Genetically and Biologically Associated with Cortical Cataract and Future Alzheimer-Related Structural and Functional Brain Changes (I will explain/decode!), was published in the September 11, 2012 issue of


Charles Bonnet Syndrome: My Personal and Professional Journey

This past week, I found myself involved in an interesting Twitter discussion about Charles Bonnet ("Bo-NAY") Syndrome (CBS), a condition that causes vivid, complex, recurrent visual hallucinations, usually (but not solely) in older adults with later-life vision loss. The "visual hallucinations" associated with CBS can range from animated, colorful, dreamlike images to less complicated visions of people, animals, vehicles, houses, and


More Follow-Up To the Coping with Vision Loss Study

As always, it's highly informative to follow up with VisionAware author Kaye Olson, the coordinator of the Coping with Vision Loss Study, which investigated the wide range of coping strategies used by adults and older adults who are blind, visually impaired, or have low vision. Following Up: The Field Responds Several weeks ago, I blogged about the follow-up


A "Top Eight" List of My Favorite Blog Posts by Joe Strechay

Guest blogger Joe Strechay is the CareerConnect Program Manager at American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). Here's Joe's description of his AFB working life: "I spend most of my time writing about employment, career education, job seeking, and


New Research on Hip Fractures and Cataract Surgery

A new study, published in the August 1, 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, indicates that the risk of hip fractures was significantly reduced in patients aged 65 and older who had undergone cataract surgery, compared with those patients who did not undergo cataract surgery. The Study Authors The study, entitled Risk of Fractures


The FDA Approves a New Stent Device for Glaucoma Surgery with Cataracts

On June 25, 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it had approved the iStent Trabecular Micro-Bypass Stent System. This is the first stent device approved for use in combination with cataract surgery to reduce intraocular [i.e., within the eye] pressure in adult patients with mild or moderate open-angle glaucoma and a


A New Website from the National Institutes of Health: Clinical Research Trials and You

From a press release from the National Institutes of Health (NIH): The National Institutes of Health has created a new website, NIH Clinical Research Trials and You, to help people learn more about clinical trials, why they matter, and how to participate. From the first cure of a solid tumor with chemotherapy to the use of nitroglycerin in response to heart attacks, clinical research trials – or research studies involving people – have played a vital role in improving health and quality of life for people around the


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