A cataract is a condition where the natural lens of the eye becomes cloudy, leading to vision problems. People with cataracts often describe their vision as similar to looking through a frosted or fogged-up window. This clouded vision can make it difficult to read, drive, especially at night, and recognize facial expressions.
In the beginning, using brighter lights and wearing glasses can help with cataract-related vision problems. However, if your impaired vision starts to interfere with your daily activities, you might need cataract surgery, which is done by an eye specialist called an Ophthalmologist. It is generally considered a safe and effective procedure to improve vision and quality of life.
Cataracts often present with the following signs and symptoms:
The initial stages of a cataract may cause minor cloudiness in the lens, potentially going unnoticed with no significant vision loss. However, as the cataract enlarges, it progressively clouds more of the lens and distorts light, resulting in more apparent symptoms. If you observe any changes in your vision, it is essential to schedule an eye exam. Additionally, if you experience sudden vision changes like double vision, flashes of light, sudden eye pain, or headaches, seek immediate medical attention from your doctor.
Cataracts mainly occur due to the gradual deterioration of proteins in the eye’s lens. Factors like aging or injury can lead to changes in the lens tissue, causing proteins and fibers to break down. This breakdown results in hazy or cloudy vision. Additionally, certain genetic disorders can increase the risk of cataracts, as well as other eye conditions, past eye surgeries, medical conditions like diabetes, and prolonged use of steroid medications.
A cataract is like a cloudy cover that forms over the lens of your eye, which is located behind the colored part called the iris. The lens normally helps focus light on the retina, which acts like the film in a camera and helps you see clear images. However, as you get older, the lens becomes less flexible, less transparent, and thicker. This aging process, along with certain medical conditions, causes proteins and fibers in the lens to clump together and form a cloud, making it difficult for light to pass through. This cloudiness scatters and blocks the light, leading to blurry vision.
Cataracts usually develop in both eyes, but they might not progress at the same speed. One eye may have a more advanced cataract than the other, causing differences in vision between the two eyes. As the cataract becomes denser over time, the blurriness in vision increases, making it harder to see clearly.
There are different types of cataracts, which include:
The following factors raise your chance of cataracts:
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