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Cataracts Definition

Most cataracts develop as we age, typically beyond the age of 40. Although they frequently damage both eyes, cataracts might occasionally affect one. The eye's natural lens, located between the iris and the pupil, becomes clouded in a cataract.

Cataracts, which may be removed, are the most frequent cause of eyesight loss worldwide.

Cataracts Definition

What triggers a cataract?

Cataracts are the aggregates that are responsible for cloudiness. The proteins that make up the eye's natural lens might clump together as we age. It could get more difficult to notice as they enlarge and cover more of the lens over time. Like a camera lens, the lens inside the eye focuses light onto the retina to provide sharp vision. Moreover, it modifies the eye's focus, enabling us to view objects up close and far away. The majority of the eye's lens is made up of water and protein. The perfect arrangement of the protein maintains the lens' clarity and permits light to pass through it.

Symptoms of cataract

The initial stages of a cataract don't significantly impair your vision. It may take months or years for visual symptoms to become apparent. You might detect a slight blurring of your vision as if you were peering through the hazy glass. Each eye's cataract development may proceed differently, leaving one eye with visual complaints and the other with normal vision.

Moreover, you might experience the following signs of cataracts:

  1. The sun's or a lamp's light feels dazzling or overly bright.
  2. Your eyes seem more light-sensitive.
  3. Driving at night increases the glare from approaching headlights.
  4. Visual halo rings around lights.
  5. Dual perception.
  6. Seeing at night or in dim light is more challenging.
  7. Colors might not seem as vivid as they were in the past.
  8. Vision is misty, foggy, dim, or blurry.

An advanced cataract can make the pupil appear light grey to onlookers rather than black. The specific symptoms you encounter, and their timing will depend on the type of cataract you have. See an eye doctor for an examination if you suspect you may have a cataract to confirm it.

Various types of cataracts

There are many types of cataracts, but some are far more prevalent than others.

  • Nuclear cataract- The most prevalent type of cataract is a nuclear cataract. They develop in the eye's lens, progressively deteriorating and impairing vision.
  • Cortical cataracts- These are spoke-like opacities that start close to the lens's periphery and progress toward its center. They increase light glare, which makes night-time driving particularly challenging.
  • Congenital cataract- Lens opacities known as congenital cataracts can be present in one or both eyes at birth. They could be minor, barely affecting vision, or more serious.
  • Trauma-induced cataracts- It can develop anywhere on the lens and frequently take the form of a "rosette" or flower-petal shape.
  • A posterior subcapsular cataract - It forms on the lens's central rear surface. These cataracts typically progress more quickly than others. Your vision will typically be affected when exposed to bright lights and colors.

Treatment of cataracts

When symptoms start, you might be able to temporarily improve your vision by using:

  1. Fresh glasses
  2. Robust bifocals
  3. Spectacles that magnify objects.
  4. Suitable lighting or additional visual help.

Cataract surgery is one of the other possible treatments for advanced cataracts.

Your eye doctor may advise surgery if your quality of life is beginning to be negatively impacted by cataracts. This is typically considered a safe and efficient approach to regaining your vision.

Many people believe that declining vision is an unavoidable part of aging, yet cataract surgery is a quick and relatively painless way to restore vision. Restoring vision after cataract surgery is very successful. According to Prevent Blindness, more than 2 million Americans have cataract surgery each year, making it the most common surgical procedure in the country.

Detection of cataracts

Eye physicians can use several tests to identify cataracts.

  1. Exam conducted using a slit lamp:A slit lamp is a big, binocular microscope with a powerful light source mounted on a tiny table. It allows your eye doctor to magnify and precisely examine your eye (including checking the lens for cataracts).
  2. Exam conducted using retinal:Before doing a retinal exam, an eye doctor will use eye drops to dilate your pupils, gradually opening your eyes. This greatly improves the doctor's ability to see into your eye. The ophthalmologist then examines the retina and optic nerve in the rear of your eye. The easiest way to see if any cataracts are developing on the lens is during a dilated eye exam.
  3. Refraction:During refraction, your eye doctor establishes the severity of your refractive defects and the prescription for your glasses to give you the clearest possible vision. You might develop a cataract if your vision can no longer be corrected to 20/20 with your current glasses prescription.

Once diagnosed, cataracts don't always need to be treated, especially if they aren't troubling you. At first, a straightforward adjustment to your eyeglass prescription can be enough to improve your vision.

Reduction of cataracts

There is currently no known way to prevent cataracts from forming. However, reducing any of the risk factors mentioned above might lessen the rate at which they advance. Some strategies for reducing cataract risk factors include:

  1. Putting on sunglasses all day to protect your eyes from the sun's UV rays.
  2. Giving up smoking.
  3. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine.
  4. Controlling and minimizing the consequences of concomitant diseases like diabetes or hypertension.
  5. Having regular eye exams will help you detect any developing cataracts quickly.

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