A Visionary Artist Who Overcame Vision Loss: Claude Monet And Cataracts

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Gain Insight Into Cataracts

June has been declared Cataract Awareness Month. Cataracts have been a leading cause of vision loss for centuries. According to Preventblindness.org, Cataracts cause the lens of the eye to become clouded. The lens is normally transparent, so light can pass through the pupil and the iris of the eye to the retina. When cataracts cloud the lens of the eye, the vision becomes blurry or distorted or goes away completely. Cataracts can affect people of all ages but are most commonly seen in people over 40 years old. The problem of cataracts is a growing issue among older groups of people, and many people develop cataracts by age 80.

Many factors can contribute to the development of cataracts other than the process of aging. These contributing factors include:

  • Failure to wear protective eyewear
  • Excessive eye exposure to the sun
  • Damaging eye injuries and diseases
  • History of steroid use
  • Inflammatory eye conditions
  • Smoking damages the retina and constricts blood vessels in the eyes

Someone dealing with cataracts may become overly sensitive to light and have trouble with vision in darker environments. Cataracts may not change the appearance of the eye itself. If the cataract is visible, it often appears to be a spot of discoloration.

Cataracts may be congenital, develop hereditarily, result from a traumatic injury, or develop as a secondary symptom of a pre-existing condition. Cataracts develop at different rates and at different degrees of severity for each eye. Cataracts may suddenly damage vision or cause damage over long periods of time, depending on the cause of cataracts and the lifestyle of the person with the condition. Cataracts are most often removed through surgical operations. The best preventative measure against the development of cataracts is to get regular eye exams to ensure proper eye care practices over time.

Claude Monet: An Artistic Eye Clouded by Cataracts

Claude Monet is an artist known for his beautifully bright and colorful paintings during the artistic era of impressionism in the late 19th century. Monet carefully observed the world around him and recreated the beauty he saw in his painted artworks. According to the University of Calgary, Monet started experiencing issues with his vision, particularly when it came to clearly seeing color, at age 65. Monet’s vision issues developed into cataracts by age 72, for which he eventually got surgery at age 83. It has been noted by art critics that paintings created by Monet after he developed vision issues were discernibly different in coloration. The condition of cataracts greatly affects the appearance of colors, making them look more saturated or yellow.

Monet claimed that having cataracts was intriguing but overall was a depressing and frustrating experience to have as an artist since everything appeared foggy. Though saddened by his weakened vision, Monet remained strong and did not allow his condition to stop him from creating the scenes he wished to see. Having cataracts revolutionized Monet’s visual approach to art and the appearance of his masterpieces.

You Can Help the Future to Be Bright for Cataracts Research

During the month of June, you can do your part to help spread a healthy vision for people affected by cataracts nationwide. Preventblindness.org reveals that over 24 million Americans currently suffer from the blinding effects of cataracts. Prevent Blindness America is a nonprofit organization that works year round to educate people about the growing problem of cataracts through seminars and online.

You can help Prevent Blindness America in the campaign for cataracts research by reaching out to the Congressional Vision Caucus of the United States Government and by making personal donations on Prevent Blindness America’s official website.

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