What is a Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. It can be compared to a window that is frosted or yellowed.
The amount and pattern of cloudiness within the lens can vary. If the cloudiness is not near the center of the lens, you may not be aware that a cataract is present.
There are many misconceptions about cataract:
Cataract is not:
- A film over the eye;
- Caused by overusing the eyes;
- Spread from one eye to the other;
- A cause of irreversible blindness.
Common symptoms of cataract include:
- A painless blurring of vision;
- Glare, or light sensitivity;
- Poor night vision;
- Double vision in one eye;
- Needing brighter light to read;
- Blurring or dimming of vision
- Fading or yellowing of colors.
Left, normal vision. At right, dulled or yellowed vision.
Blurring or dimming of vision
What causes a Cataract?
Cataract development is a normal process of aging, but cataracts also develop from eye injuries, radiation, certain diseases, medications or long-term exposure to sunlight. Your genes may also play a role in cataract development.
In a normal eye, light focuses precisely on the retina.
Posterior capsulotomy: In an eye with cataract, light scatters throughout the eye instead of focusing precisely on the retina
How Fast does a cataract develop?
How quickly the cataract develops varies among individuals and may even be different between the two eyes. Most age-related cataracts progress gradually over a period of years.
Other cataracts, especially in younger people and people with diabetes, may progress rapidly over a short time. It is not possible to predict exactly how fast cataracts develop in any given person.
How can Cataract be treated?
A cataract may not need to be treated if your vision is only slightly blurry. Simply changing your eyeglass prescription may help to improve your vision for a while.
There are no medications, eye drops, exercises or glasses that will cause cataracts to disappear or to prevent them from forming. Surgery is the only way to remove a cataract. When you are no longer able to see well enough to do the things you like to do, cataract surgery should be considered.
In cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed from the eye through a surgical incision. In most cases, the natural lens is replaced with a permanent intraocular lens (IOL) implant.
Read more about Cataract Surgery