A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye that can hinder vision. Over half of all Americans age 65 and older have cataracts.
What Causes Cataracts?
The eye operates much like an electronic camera. Light rays enter the eye, going through the cornea, the liquid humor– transparent fluid in the front of the eye– then the pupil and into the lens. The lens flexes the light rays to focus objects onto the retina lining the back of the eye. From there, the image goes through the retinal cells, into the optic nerve, and finally to the back of the brain which process the images.
Cataracts happen when there is a buildup of protein in the lens that makes it cloudy. This avoids light from passing clearly through the lens, causing some loss of vision. Given that brand-new lens cells form on the outside of the lens, all the older cells are compacted into the center of the lens leading to the cataract.
Types of cataracts include:
- Age-related cataracts. As the name recommends, this kind of cataract develops as an outcome of aging.
- Hereditary cataracts. Babies are sometimes born with cataracts as a result of an infection, injury, or poor development prior to they were born, or they may establish during youth.
- Secondary cataracts. These develop as an outcome of other medical conditions, like diabetes, or direct exposure to poisonous drugs, specific drugs (such as corticosteroids or diuretics), ultraviolet light, or radiation.
- Traumatic cataracts. These type after injury to the eye.
- Other aspects that can increase a person’s risk of establishing cataracts include cigarette smoke, air pollution, and alcohol usage.
What Are the Symptoms of Cataracts?
Cataracts normally form gradually and cause few symptoms up until they noticeably block light. When symptoms exist, they can include:
- Vision that is cloudy, blurry, foggy, or filmy
- Progressive nearsightedness in older individuals frequently called “2nd sight” since although their range vision is weakening, they may no more need reading glasses.
- Modifications in the way you see color due to the fact that the tarnished lens serves as a filter.
- Problems driving at night such as glare from approaching headlights.
- Issues with glare during the day.
- Double vision while looking through the eye with a cataract (like a superimposed image).
- Sudden modifications in glasses prescription.
How Are Cataracts Diagnosed?
An eye test will be provided to test how well you can see (remember to bring your glasses or wear your contacts to the consultation). Your doctor will also dilate your pupil in order to analyze the condition of the lens and other parts of the eye.
How Are Cataracts Treated?
If your vision can be corrected to an appropriate level with a modification in prescription, spectacles, including bifocals or contacts, may be prescribed, removing the requirement for surgery at that time.
If your vision loss can not be corrected with new glasses and cataracts interfere with your life, you may be a prospect for cataract surgery, which involves eliminating the clouded lens and replacing it with a clear, artificial one.
Cataract surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis and is extremely effective in restoring vision. It is the most frequently performed surgery in the U.S., with more than 1.5 million cataract surgeries done each year. Far more tan 90 percent of the people who have cataract surgery have improvement in vision.
Speak with your doctor to see which treatment is right for you.
Can Cataracts Be Prevented?
Due to the fact that the specific cause of cataracts is uncertain, there is no proven technique of avoiding them. Due to the fact that cataracts and other conditions such as glaucoma prevail in older grownups, it’s vital to have your eyes examined on a regular basis.
This is especially vital if you have risk aspects or a household history of eye problems. Adults ought to see an optometrist at least every two years and annually after age 50.
People with a history of eye issues or other medical conditions that increase the risk of eye disease– such as diabetes– may require eye examinations more often.
Be sure to ask your doctor if you have any risk elements or indicators that cataracts or other conditions may impact your vision.