What are Cataracts?

Cataracts are a condition that affects the eye. Normally, the lens inside the eye is clear. However, a cataract causes the lens to become clouded over. May patients with cataracts report feeling as though they are looking through a frosted glass, or a foggy window. This cloudy vision makes it extremely difficult to perform everyday tasks, like driving, reading, or even reading the facial expressions of someone you are talking to.

Cataracts are a slow developing condition. Early on, patients do not report any symptoms that disturb eye sight. As the condition progresses, the cataract begins to interfere in the patient’s ability to see.

What are the Symptoms of Cataracts?

The signs and symptoms of cataracts develop slowly and over an extended period of time.

Symptoms include

  • Cloudy, blurry, or dim vision
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Being sensitive to glare and direct light
  • Requiring brighter light to see for activities like reading
  • Seeing a fuzzy outline or halo around lights
  • Changing the prescription of eye glasses or contact lenses frequently
  • Colors becoming more yellow
  • Seeing double in a single eye

Cataracts Causes

Most cataracts develop as a result of aging, which alters the tissues that constitute the lens of the eye. Since cataracts form once protein builds up in the lens, they are caused by a number of factors.

Below are the underlying causative factors of cataracts:

  • Eye trauma
  • Hereditary genetic disorders
  • They are also caused by previous eye surgeries and other eye conditions
  • Medical conditions such as diabetes
  • Long-standing usage of steroid medications can also cause them
  • Smoking and heavy drinking is also a predisposing factor of cataracts
  • Exposure to toxic substances, radiation, and ultra violet waves increase the risk of contracting cataracts
  • Air pollution also increases the risk of developing cataracts

How are Cataracts Treated?

When cataracts first appear, your doctor will manage your symptoms through changing your eye glasses prescription when it no longer works for you. When glasses are no longer able to provide clear vision, the best option to provide you with clear vision is through cataract surgery.

Cataract surgery is considered in patients who are otherwise healthy. It is only considered when cataracts interfere in the ability for you to comfortably live your daily life and perform daily activities. There is no significant rush to correct cataracts because they do not affect your overall health. They also do not harm the eye. However, they can become worse over time and completely block out all vision.

Unlike many conditions, delaying cataract surgery will not affect the overall outcome. After you have surgery to remove the cataract, your vision will return to what it was before.

Cataract surgery has become a routine procedure and thousands of people undergo this procedure on a daily basis. During cataract surgery, your doctor will remove the clouded lens and replace it with a high quality, artificial lens. This lens will become a permanent part of your eye.

This surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis and no hospital stay is required.

Cataracts Prevention

Since there’s no proven way of preventing cataracts, it is essential that a person manages and avoids the risk factors. This might mean a lifestyle change and adoption of a healthy diet.

These are some preventions to keep in mind:

  • Eating healthy foods with a lot of fruit and vegetables
  • Keep other medical conditions in check
  • Wear sunglasses and wide brimmed hats when outdoors
  • Quit smoking and heavy alcohol consumption
  • Visit an eye specialist to check for any cataract symptoms