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Wellness: Cataract Awareness Month

Wellness: Cataract Awareness Month

Published on: June 4, 2024

Categories: Health & Wellness

Cataracts are the leading cause of visual impairments and blindness worldwide and are largely preventable. June is Cataract Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness of the 40% of global blindness caused by cataracts.

Early detection of cataracts is essential to preserve sight. The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) notes that cataracts develop on the eye or lens itself, similar to skin, and, in most cases, are part of aging. Outside of age, genetic disorders, injury, smoking, UV light exposure, diabetes, obesity, and uveitis can all also cause cataracts.

Symptoms such as clouded or blurred vision, squinting, headaches, and vision halos are caused by cells beginning to clump together on the lens of the eye, which can increasingly impair vision.

When treated early through elective cataract surgery, cataracts can be easily removed and vision restored. During the surgery, a lens is implanted in the eye to help repair vision, typically similar to that of a 20-year-old. Restoration is not always perfect; some individuals normally need glasses afterward. However, the surgery can be difficult and more complicated if individuals wait too long to seek surgical intervention.

So why do we care as a construction company about cataracts? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, visual impairments and job-related injuries to the eyes impacted 18,510 individuals in 2020. Of those individuals, 2,120 were from the construction trades. Contact with objects or equipment, chemical and thermal burns, slips, trips, and falls are the most common concerns when it comes to eye injuries. However, exposure to UV rays, especially for outdoor workers such as construction laborers, can greatly impact the development of cataracts. Modenese and Gobba (2018) did find some correlation between solar radiation exposure and cataract development.

We encourage everyone to take the time to see an eye doctor (Ophthalmologist) for preventative screenings. It’s important to ensure your eye health as you age to prevent cataracts and potential blindness, even if you have 20/20 vision!

Check out our article on Eye Safety on the Job.