Cataract is one of the common diseases of the eyes caused due to aging. It is characterized by cloudy vision where the eye lens is affected. It is very common and affects millions of elderly people. Surprisingly, more than half of the American population aged more than 70 years underwent cataract surgery to restore the vision. Cataract can affect one eye or both eyes simultaneously.
Lens of the eyes is affected. Lens sends the light to the retina in the eyes. Retina converts the light into nerve signals and further transmits it to the brain. Brain cells receive the signals and resend it in form of image! All these happen in a micro second. When the lens is not healthy and clear, it cannot pass the sharp image to the retina, and the further process is affected. Cloudy lens causes blurred and cloudy vision which forms cataract.
Causes and Types of Cataract
Aging is the major cause of cataract. Accumulation of eye protein together forms a clump due to aging. This creates a cloudy surface on the lens affecting the vision. Besides wear and tear, smoking, alcohol, etc also causes disruption in the eye protein, leading to cloudiness.
There are different types of cataract categorized based on the causes of the condition.
- Congenital Cataract – One of the painful disorders of the newborns who inherit the cataract through genes. Babies may be born with cataract as well as may develop cataract at a very tender age. However, this cataract isn’t so harmful and they don’t affect the vision.
- Traumatic Cataract – This is a category of cataract caused by an eye injury.
- Secondary Cataract – Caused due to any surgery procedures to treat eye problems. Cataract caused due to substance abuse, diabetes, etc are also termed as secondary cataract.
- Radiation Cataract – As indicated by the name, it is caused due to exposure to radiation.
Symptoms – How Cataract Impact Vision?
Cataract doesn’t directly ruin the vision. It gradually reduces the vision power. Accumulation of protein leads to cloudy lens. This cloudiness may not affect the entire lens, rather may cause cloudiness at a small part of the lens. In such case, it is not possible to identify the condition. Vision gets worse very slowly as cataract grows slowly! The growth of cloudiness in the lens result with growth of cataract, which causes more difficulty in seeing clear imagoes.
Subsequently, the eye lens gradually changes the color. The lens becomes yellowish or brownish. We have seen many aged people with yellow tinted eyes. The transformation of lens adds a brown shade to your vision. So, whenever you see, you vision will carry a brown tint. Gradually growth of cataract impacts the vision and makes it very difficult to see due to increased tint. The discoloration of lens also makes you disable to identify the shades of purples and blues.
Signs of the condition include,
- Cloudy vision / blurred vision aggravating over time
- Discoloration of vision
- Sensitivity to see sunlight, headlights, etc.
- Double vision
While the risk of cataract is higher with aging, it may affect people of any age.
Treating cataract is not a difficult one. When the condition is diagnosed at an early stage, it can be effectively improved with eyeglasses, and lenses.
In other cases, when the condition is not improved with prescription glasses or lenses, cataract surgery is performed where the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens. This is a simple surgical procedure performed all over the world to restore the healthy vision in aged people.
Besides, surgery is also performed to diagnose any other eye problem when the cloudy lens prevents detection of eye problems. After surgery, the patients may return back to normal back in two to three weeks.
Is it possible to prevent cataract?
This is a debatable question! Since the condition is caused by wear and tear and aging, there is no supportive measures to prevent developing the cloudy eyes. However, aggravation of cataract can be well prevented by periodic eye examinations, wearing sun / anti-glare glasses, eating healthy foods, etc.