A cataract is developed when the crystalline lens situated just behind the pupil that focuses light onto the retina becomes cloudy.
It reduces vision and causes glare from lights and images become hazy. When a cataract is formed, the incident light becomes blocked or scattered, causing blurry images and poor vision. As a part of the normal aging process or with other associated medical conditions, the lens in the eye can slowly become cloudy. This is called cataract. The risk of cataract increases with age. Cataract is very common but, luckily, in most cases also very easy to correct.
What is the lens?
The lens is the part of the eye that helps focus light on the retina (just like the lens of a camera). The retina is the eye’s light-sensitive layer that transmits visual signals through the optic nerve to the brain. The retina is like the photographic film in a camera. In a normal eye, light passes through the clear lens and gets focused on the retina. To help produce a sharp image.
What are the symptoms of a cataract ?
A cataract typically develops slowly and may have little effect on vision at first. You may notice that your vision blurs. A cataract can also cause glare in bright sunlight or glare around lights. You might see glare at night when looking at oncoming car headlights. Some people report that colors may not appear as bright as they once did. Cataracts can sometimes cause double vision in the affected eye.
As the cataract progresses the clouding of the lens begins to cause symptoms. You may find it harder to read and do other day-to-day tasks.
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What can I do to protect my vision or prevent cataracts ?
Research has not yet proved how to prevent cataracts.
People over the age of 60 are at risk for many vision problems. If you are 60 years or older, you should have an eye examination through dilated pupils, at least every two years. This kind of exam allows your optometrist or surgeon to check for signs of
- age-related macular degeneration
- cataracts and other vision disorders.
How do eye surgeons perform cataract surgery ?
First, your doctor will place eye drops in your eye to dilate your pupil. You will receive local anesthetics to numb the area, and you may be given a sedative to help you relax. If you are given a sedative, you may remain awake, but groggy, during surgery.
During cataract surgery, the clouded lens is removed, and a clear artificial lens is usually implanted. In some cases, however, a cataract may be removed without implanting an artificial lens.
Typically patients will experience blurry vision, double vision, sensitivity to light, glare, colors that appear washed out, and frequent changes of eyeglass prescription. An ophthalmologist or optometrist will be able to diagnose a cataract by looking through a slit-lamp during a dilated eye examination or by looking through an ophthalmoscope.