Cataract: What is it?

Cataract

The human eye is quite similar to a camera as far as its working is concerned. Rays of light enter the eyes and pass through cornea, and then it enters the pupil and ultimately the lens. Now the lens performs its function by bending the rays of light thereby focusing the object onto the retina, passing through the retinal cells it reaches the brains for processing through the optic nerve. Cataract is accumulation of protein on the eye lens thereby blurring the vision.

Causes

Cataract is caused by the buildup of protein on the lens of the eye; this build up makes the vision cloudy by preventing the light from passing through the lens properly. This obstruction causes loss of vision to some extent depending on the amount of protein build up. With time new cells form outside the eye lens because of which the older cells get accumulated into the center of this lens.

  1. Cataracts can occur because of ageing or can even be present by birth in some children.
  2. Diabetes, ultraviolet light, radiation, injury, etc. can also cause cataract, this type of cataract is known as secondary cataract.
  3. Certain eye injuries can also lead to cataract formation in the eye, this type of cataract is called traumatic cataract.
  4. A person’s risk of cataract tends to increase with smoking and alcohol consumption.

Symptoms

Formation of cataract is a slow process; it emerges slowly as the time passes by. Initially the symptoms are not even noticeable; it is only after a certain level when the symptoms erupt.

Various symptoms of cataract are:

  1. Cloudy, blurry or filmy vision that makes it difficult to see anything clearly.
  2. In older people often nearsightedness is noticed because of which they need not wear glasses.
  3. Difficulty in driving at night because of glare.
  4. Mild color blindness can also be caused due to cataract because of the formation of protein layer.
  5. Glare trouble during the day, which obstructs proper vision.
  6. Cataract often causes double vision in some patients.
  7. Sudden changes in the vision which leads to changes in the glass prescription.

The patient must consult an eye specialist immediately as soon as any of the above mentioned symptoms is noticed.

Diagnosis

Cataract can be diagnosed by an eye examination. You will have to give an eye test to determine how well you can see. Do not forget to carry your glasses or contact lenses while going for this test. The doctor might also dilate the eye pupil to examine the condition of the eye thoroughly.

Treatment

  1. A simple cataract surgery can restore your vision. In this surgery the clouded lens is removed and is replaced by a new one. An artificial lens is placed in the eye which ensures perfect vision. Cataract surgery is a very successful way of restoring eye’s vision.
  2. Cataract surgery can even be postponed by simply changing the glasses prescription; this is, however, a temporary solution. This will only eliminate the need of surgery for some time.
  3. Consult your doctor to find out a suitable treatment.

Prevention

  1. Since the exact cause of cataract is unknown, there is no method of preventing it. Cataract is more common in older people, thus regular eye check up is recommended.
  2. Patients with a family history of eye problems must take extra precautions as they have high risk of cataract.
  3. Patients suffering from diabetes must also go for regular checkups as they are at higher risk.
  4. Avoid excessive alcohol and smoking.
  5. Wear sunglasses whenever you step out in the sun to protect the eyes from harmful UV rays and pollution.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are only old people prone to cataract?
Cataract is more common in older people; however, young children are also prone to the risk of cataract. Some children are born with cataract.

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