Newswise — (New York, June 8, 2015) – Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in Americans 65 and older and the principal cause of blindness in the world. In fact, there are more cases of cataracts worldwide than there are of glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy combined. To observe Cataract Awareness Month in June, ophthalmologists from New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai (NYEE) and The Mount Sinai Hospital (MSH) – both part of the Mount Sinai Health System – are offering prevention tips and raising awareness of options for early detection and effective treatment.

Experts Available for Interview•Kira Manusis, MD, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Co-Director, Cataract and Refractive Surgery, NYEE•Michelle K. Rhee MD, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Co-Director, Refractive Surgery Service, MSH

Facts about Cataracts•A cataract is the clouding of the natural lens of the eye, the same part of the eye responsible for focusing light and enabling you to see clear images. •Aside from the normal aging process, additional causes for developing cataracts include: eye injury; systemic conditions such as diabetes; the use of certain medications; long-term unprotected sun exposure; smoking; and a family history of cataracts.•Symptoms can include: blurry vision; sensitivity to light, glare; fading of colors; difficulty reading; double vision; and frequent changes in prescription of eyeglasses or contact lenses.•Small cataracts may not cause any noticeable symptoms. As cataracts progress they cause limitations in the activities of daily living such as reading, driving, and watching TV. •The condition can be treated with surgery by removing the clouded human lens and replacing it with an artificial lens implant. This surgery is easily tolerated and performed at an outpatient setting. •Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed medical procedures in the United States, with more than three million surgeries performed each year.

Tips for Cataract Diagnosis and Treatment•Because cataracts are so common in older adults, it's important to have your eyes examined on a regular basis. •People aged 40 to 64 should have a comprehensive eye examination every two to four years; people 65 and older should have a comprehensive eye examination every one to two years. •People with a history of eye problems or other medical conditions that increase the risk of eye disease - such as diabetes - should have eye exams more frequently (once a year or as recommended by your doctor).•New treatments for cataract include laser-assisted surgery that combines a femtosecond laser (ultrafast laser), 3D imaging, sophisticated software, and a number of other innovative features that make the cataract procedure customized and more precise.•New artificial lenses used during cataract surgery may offer patients better quality of vision and lower dependence on glasses.

About the Mount Sinai Health System
The Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. Structured around seven member hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care. The System includes approximately 6,600 primary and specialty care physicians, 12-minority-owned free-standing ambulatory surgery centers, over 45 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island, as well as 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institutes of Health funding and by U.S. News & World Report.

For more information, visit, or find Mount Sinai on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.