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I Can See Clearly Now

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On June 23, 1972 singer-songwriter Johnny Nash released his Billboard Hot 100 number one hit song, “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright), sun-shiny day.”

Today, more than 22 million Americans age 40 and older have cataracts, and according to the National Eye Institute, by age 80 more than half of all Americans will either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery, lending to literal dark clouds preventing those suffering from cataracts from seeing clearly.

There is hope and healing for those suffering with cataracts in our community according to Randall E. Woesner, M.D., local ophthalmologist. “Having a cataract often impairs your vision and usually happens over time, in fact nearly everyone over the age of seventy will have some cataract formation,” shared Dr. Woesner.

When asked what the symptoms and causes of cataracts might be Dr. Woesner said, “the most common symptoms are blurring vision, glare or light sensitivity, poor night vision, double vision in one eye, needing brighter light to read, and a fading or yellowing of colors. Cataracts can also be caused by a family history, diabetes, injury to the eye, steroid type medications, radiation, unprotected sun exposure, or a previous eye surgery.”

“The best way to detect and treat cataracts is to have a regularly scheduled eye exam,” continued Dr. Woesner. Surgery is the only treatment for cataracts, but Dr. Woesner said not to worry, “If your symptoms aren’t bothering you very much surgery might not be needed. Sometimes a simple change in your eyeglass prescription can help improve your vision.”

Though there may not be many treatment options for cataracts the Mayo Clinic believes the risk of cataracts can be reduced by:

•Having a regular eye exam.
•Quit smoking.
•Wear sunglasses.
•Take the proper care of diabetes and other medical conditions.
•Maintain a healthy weight.
•Choose a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables.

 

Dr. Woesner has been practicing in Mendocino and Lake Counties for over 30 years. If you are experiencing symptoms of cataracts or to schedule an eye exam with Dr. Woesner, call (707)-463-1659, his office is located at 248-A Hospital Drive in Ukiah.