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Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 40, and they are also a cause of blindness. The guide below outlines what cataracts are, how to spot the signs, and their treatment options.A cataract is a progressive, painless clouding of the natural, internal lens of the eye. Learn what to do about it here!Click To Tweet
What are Cataracts?
Cataracts are a build-up of protein on the lens of the eye, which causes a cloudy appearance. This lens is usually clear in healthy individuals and is what refracts light and enables us to see and focus.
Therefore, if the lens becomes cloudy, it will begin to impair vision. They often form slowly and occur mainly in older individuals.
Symptoms of cataracts can vary depending on the type, but generally, they include:
Extra sensitivity to light
Trouble with night vision
Seeing bright colors as either faded or yellowish
While there is no specific evidence for the prevention of cataracts, doctors suggest that certain lifestyle changes can help. These include not smoking, eating healthy, having regular eye examinations, managing conditions such as diabetes, limiting alcohol, and wearing sunglasses.
Treatment can involve surgery to remove the clouded lenses and replace them with new cataract lenses. These can enable improved range and quality of vision following surgery.
Causes and Types
The most common cause of cataracts is age. After age 40, the normal proteins in the lens of the eye begin to break down, which causes the process of blurring to start.
More severe blurring is common in people over 60, but vision loss will usually not occur until years later.
There are many different types of cataracts, and this is due to which area of the lens they affect. The four most common are:
This type affects the center of the eye and can gradually turn brown as it increases in cloudiness.
People with nuclear cataracts may notice an improvement in their nearsightedness for a while, but as the condition progresses, the blurring of the lens clouds their vision. This results in difficulty seeing small details and a reduction in the richness of color around objects.
Cortical cataracts affect the sides of the lens and can cause whitish, wedge-shaped streaks. As the condition worsens, these streaks extend into the center of the lens, interfering with vision.
The main symptom of this type is glare, which can cause hazy sight and make it hard to drive at night.
Posterior cataracts are the fastest-growing type. They start at the back of the lens as a small opaque area that gradually increases in size.
Because they are directly in the path of light, they can cause reading vision problems and create glares or halos on objects in the dark.
Some people are born with cataracts, or they develop during childhood. These are often genetic or caused by an infection or illness such as Rubella or injury.
Do you know anyone who suffers from this eye condition?
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