Cataracts are proteins that form in the eyes’ lenses and cause clouding of vision. It is a most common vision problem for people 40 years and older. It is also said to be the principal cause of blindness worldwide.
Types of Cataracts
There are three types of cataracts. The most commonly associated with aging is nuclear cataract, which forms in the central zone of the lens. People with diabetes or those taking steroids are more prone to be afflicted with subcapsular cataract that happens in the back of the lens. Cortical cataract starts from the periphery of the lens then works its way to the centre. It occurs in the lens surrounding the central nucleus.
What Causes Cataracts?
When proteins in the eye responsible for clarity are altered structurally over time, it leads to gradual clouding. The Australian Institute of Eye Surgery also adds severe eye trauma can also lead to cataract formation, as well as eye surgery. Intraocular inflammation also results to cataracts. Although rare, hereditary enzyme effects can lead to cataracts at an early age.
Smoking, ultraviolet radiation from the sun, and even too much alcohol consumption can contribute to cataract formation.
Symptoms to be Aware of
The most common symptom of cataracts is cloudy vision, like looking through foggy glass or dirty camera lens. People suffering from blurred vision may also be affected with cataracts. Light from the sun or lamp appears too glaring for those suffering from cataract. Colours become duller and near-sightedness often worsens.
Early stages of cataract can be treated with prescription glasses. But once it progresses, surgery is often resorted to by ophthalmologists. It is an outpatient procedure that requires removing the clouded lens and replacing it with a clearer but artificial one. Surgery should be considered when your vision is already impairing your ability to function normally.
However, if signs of cataract are present and the patient is scheduled for LASIK eye surgery, ophthalmologists advise that the treatment be suspended, as a cataract surgery can also repair vision to normal using intraocular lens.
Regular eye check-up, especially for persons 40 years and above, should be done. This can help eye specialists monitor early stages of cataract and prescribe what course of action to take. Surgery is often successful at restoring eye sight or even regaining 20/20 vision.