Cataracts are clouding of the lens in your eye. The lens is what focuses light, and is usually clear causing no affect in a person’s vision. When your eye starts developing cataracts it will look as though you are looking through a foggy window. Cataracts aren’t deadly, but they can cause you to stop being able to function and do normal daily activities. Anyone can get cataracts, children or adults. Some people are born with them, or children can develop them at a young age. Other people who can be at risk for cataracts are aging people, people who have suffered eye injury, or people with diabetes.
Cataracts develop by the lens of the eye becomes less flexible, this can happen from aging or injury. While the lens is less flexible it becomes less transparent and thicker. As this happens then the tissues within the lens break down and clump together. As this clumping happens the clouding begins, first in small areas within the lens. These tiny areas of clouded vision in time with become denser. Cataracts are slow to develop. At first they may not affect your vision or your way of life. In time though without treatment they can.
Symptoms of cataracts are clouded, blurred or dim vision, seeing at night may become difficult, light sensitivity, glare or double vision. If you experience any of these symptoms you will need to consult with your eye doctor immediately. If you go to the eye doctor to rule out if you have cataracts are not, you will go through a normal eye exam. You may also have to go through a slit-lamp exam or a retinal exam. The slit-lamp exam will allow the doctor to look at the structure of your eye more closely. In a retinal exam the doctor will dilate your eyes, usually with drops, which will make it easier for the doctor to look at the back of your eye through an ophthalmoscope. The doctor will then be able to see if there is a cataract on your lens.
You can develop cataracts on both eyes. With them being so slow in development you may not have to take action right away. Strong lighting and eyeglasses will help with your vision. There are different types of cataracts. Nuclear cataracts that affect the center of the lens. Cortical cataracts affect the edges of the lens. Posterior subcapsular cataracts affect the back of the lens. Congenital cataracts are when you are born with cataracts. These congenital cataracts are either from genetics, intrauterine infection or trauma.
Depending on how far developed your cataracts are you will talk to your doctor about treatment. There are things that you can do to help prevent cataracts. Make sure to have regular eye exams this will help with early diagnosis. Decreasing amount of alcohol use, quit smoking, and eating healthier can also help reduce risk. Another thing to make sure to do is wear sunglasses, this will protect your lens.
If you end up having a cataract your doctor and you may decide on surgery. Surgery may only be recommended if the cataract is affecting your daily life. Affecting your vision or your ability to do things, such as driving at night. Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure. Meaning that you will have the surgery and be able to go home same day. It is a common procedure, with very little risk. But like any surgery there are always risks. Some risk factors to the surgery are infection, bleeding and or retinal detachment. In the surgery the eye doctor will replace the infected lens from your eye with an artificial lens that will be in your eye permanently. If you have cataracts in both eyes you will have one eye done at a time.
Make sure to have normal eye exams and speak with your doctor if you have any concerns about your vision.
Lifestyle Changes To Reduce Cataract Risk
- 1Never smoke or stop smoking.
- 2Protect your eyes with sunglasses year round.
- 3Eat a healthy diet and reduce alcohol consumption.
- 4Get regular eye exams.