A cataract is a condition of the eye that affects vision. Resulting from damage to the retina in an often age-related process known as macular degeneration, the cataract causes the lens in the eye to become clouded and blocks light from entering. This results in a blurred retina image, and thus poor vision.
Causes of Cataracts
Although cataracts can occur in people of all ages, they are more common in older people. In most cases, cataracts are simply an effect of the aging process. However, there are certain risk factors which can cause cataracts to appear in younger people.
Risk Factors for the Early Onset of Cataracts
- Long-term exposure to ultraviolet light
- Eye diseases such as iris inflammation, eye infection
- Underlying diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and thyroid disease
- Eye injury or inflammation
- Congenital defect caused by maternal infection with rubella
- Long-term use of steroid medications
Symptoms of Cataracts
- Blurred/dim vision with no pain in bright light, but almost normal vision at night
- Double vision caused by a clouding of the lens and refractive error (light rays enter the eye but are not focused at a single point on the retina)
- Seeing halos around lights, such as when driving at night
- The need to frequently change eyeglasses, better near vision without eyeglasses
- White opacity in the center of the pupil
Cataract surgery involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with a clear artificial lens. The following surgical techniques can be used to achieve this:
Eye Care Tips
- Get enough sleep
- Choose a healthy diet
- Give your eyes a break from time to time after long hours of focusing, such as from reading or using a computer
- Wear sunglasses that block ultraviolet light, do not look directly at the sun
- Avoid eye injuries and accidents
- Have your eyes checked regularly. People over the age of 40 should have their eyes tested once a year.