Cataract is the clouding of lens which is the part of eyes responsible for focusing light and producing clear, sharp image. A cataract occurs when the crystalline lens of the eyes become cloudy or opaque as a result of age, illness or trauma. This cloudiness can interfere with the eye’s natural ability to direct light and focus an image on the retina. As a result, individuals with cataracts frequently experience a loss of vision.
The most common cause of the cataract is the deterioration of the natural structure within the lens of the eye with age. There may be other causes like diabetes, kidney disease, glaucoma, smoking, eye injury, infection, and inflammation inside the eyes. Prolonged use of certain medication can also lead to cataract formation. Common symptoms are blurry vision, color that seem faded, glare, not being able to see at night, double vision, frequent prescription changes in your eye wear.
Adults over the age of 40 should regularly schedule eye examination on an annual basis to determine whether cataract or other eye disorders are present.
A thorough examination by eye specialist usually will include:
Patients with cataract often experience the following symptoms:
Types of cataract
Cataract can form after the surgery for other eye problems, such as glaucoma. Cataract also can develop in person who has other health problems, such as diabetes. Cataracts are sometimes linked to steroid use also.
Cataract can develop after an eye injury, sometimes years later.
Some new born babies are born with cataract or develop them in childhood, often in both eyes. This cataract may be so small that they do not affect the vision. If they do, the lenses may need to be removed.
Cataract can develop after exposure to some types of radiation.
Causes and risk factor
The lens lies behind the iris and the pupil. It works much like camera lens. It focuses light onto the retina at the back of the eye where an image is recorded. The lens also adjusts the eye’s focus, letting us see things clearly both up close and far away. The lens is made of mostly water and protein. The proteins are arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens clear and let’s light pass through it.
But as we age some protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. This is cataract. Over time, the cataract may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it harder to see. Researchers suspect that there are several causes of cataract, such as smoking and diabetes. Or, it may be that the protein in the lens just changes from the wear and tear it takes over the years.