Cataract

Cataract

Cataracts affect almost everyone, sooner or later. The natural lens of the eye is made mostly of water and protein. It is crystal clear and located behind the pupil of the eye. The lens is responsible for focusing light rays onto the center of the retina, known as the macula. As you age into your 60s and higher, some of the protein in the lens will clump together, causing the natural lens to become discolored and clouded. When this occurs, light rays passing through the eye become scattered and unfocused. The result is that all objects, whether near or far, become blurry. Other patients can experience light sensitivity, glare, haloes, and worsening of their prescription eyeglasses as the cataracts develop.

Most cataracts develop slowly and don't disturb your eyesight early on. But with time, cataracts will eventually interfere with your vision.

At first, stronger lighting and eyeglasses can help you deal with cataracts. But if impaired vision interferes with your usual activities, you might need cataract surgery. Fortunately, cataract surgery is generally a safe, effective procedure.

The only treatment for a visually significant cataract is removal of the affected natural lens of the eye and implantation of an intraocular lens (IOL). This restores the eye’s ability to have light pass unobstructed through the pupil and on to the retina.

Symptoms

⇔  Clouded, blurred or dim vision

⇔  Increasing difficulty with vision at night

⇔  Sensitivity to light and glare

⇔  Need for brighter light for reading and other activities

⇔  Fading or yellowing of colors

⇔  Double vision in a single eye

At first, the cloudiness in your vision caused by a cataract may affect only a small part of the eye's lens and you may be unaware of any vision loss. As the cataract grows larger, it clouds more of your lens and distorts the light passing through the lens. This may lead to more noticeable symptoms.

Prevention of Cataracts

⇔  Protect your eyes from UVB rays by wearing sunglasses outside

⇔  Have regular eye exams

⇔  Stop smoking

⇔  Eat fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants

⇔  Maintain a healthy weight

⇔  Keep diabetes and other medical conditions in check

Cataracts can interfere with daily activities and lead to blindness when left untreated. Although some stop growing, they don’t get smaller on their own. The surgical removal of cataracts is a very common procedure and is highly effective roughly 90 percent of the time, according to the National Eye Institute.