Cataracts occur when the lens of your eye becomes cloudy or opaque. It's usually not a vision problem, though too many cataracts can eventually cause you to lose some or all of your sight. Find out what causes cataracts and how they're treated in this article!
What is Cataracts?
Cataracts are a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. They are most often caused by aging or long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Cataracts cause the lens of your eye to become cloudy, making it difficult to see clearly.
There are two types of cataracts: nuclear cataracts, which form in the center of the lens, and cortical cataracts, which form in the outer edges of the lens. Nuclear cataracts tend to develop slowly and usually don’t cause major vision problems until they are large. Cortical cataracts develop more quickly and can cause vision problems sooner.
Most cataracts can be treated with surgery. During surgery, your surgeon will make an incision in your eye and remove the cloudy lens. They will then replace it with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL). Surgery is usually safe and effective, but it’s important to talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits before you have any type of surgery.
If you have a cataract, there are several things you can do to help manage your condition and improve your vision:
- Wear sunglasses or a hat with a brim when you’re outdoors to protect your eyes from UV light.
- Quit smoking if you smoke cigarettes. Smoking increases your risk for developing cataracts.
- Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables etc.
What Causes Cataracts?
Cataracts are the result of a build-up of proteins in the lens of the eye, which cause the lens to become cloudy. The exact cause of this protein build-up is unknown, but it is thought to be due to age-related changes in the structure of the proteins themselves. Cataracts are also more common in people with diabetes or who have been exposed to ultraviolet light.
How are Cataracts Diagnosed?
A cataract is diagnosed when your eye’s lens becomes cloudy, making it difficult to see. This usually happens gradually and can affect one or both eyes.
Most people with a cataract have no symptoms in the early stages and don’t even know they have one. As the cataract progresses, you may notice:
- Blurry or fuzzy vision
- Colors that seem faded
- Glare - especially when driving at night
- Trouble seeing at night
- Double vision in a single eye
You should see an ophthalmologist or optometrist if you have these symptoms. He or she will conduct a comprehensive eye exam, which includes:
- Visual acuity test. This measures how much you can see on an eye chart from a distance of 20 feet (6 meters).
- Slit-lamp examination. The doctor uses a special magnifying lens and light to examine the structures at the front of your eye for signs of disease, including cataracts.
- Dilated eye exam. After putting drops in your eyes to widen (dilate) your pupils, the doctor looks at your retina and optic nerve for signs of damage and other problems. This part of the exam may be done using a hand-held magnifying glass called a lensometer.
What are the Treatments for Cataracts?
There are a number of different treatments for cataracts, depending on the severity of the condition. In some cases, glasses or contact lenses may be all that is needed to help improve vision. For more advanced cataracts, surgery may be required to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear artificial one. Cataract surgery is usually very successful and can help to restore normal vision.
Prevention of Cataracts
Cataracts are a common condition that can develop in anyone as they age. However, there are some lifestyle choices and medical conditions that can increase your risk of developing cataracts.
There are two main types of cataracts: nuclear cataracts and cortical cataracts. Nuclear cataracts form in the center of the lens, while cortical cataracts form in the edges of the lens. Cataracts can also be classified as Congenital, Developmental, or Acquired.
Most cataracts are acquired as we get older and our lenses start to degenerate. This is because the proteins in our lenses start to break down and clump together. This causes the lens to become opaque and affects our vision. For more information, you can contact us at +18449694325 or visit WoW Health.
Also, there are some things you can do to prevent cataracts or delay their onset:
- Wear sunglasses or contact lenses with UV protection when outdoors
- Don’t smoke
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of antioxidants
- Have regular eye exams
- Manage chronic conditions such as diabetes