A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. For people who have cataracts, seeing through cloudy lenses is a bit like looking through a frosty or fogged-up window. Clouded vision caused by cataracts can make it more difficult to read, drive a car, especially at night. Most cataracts develop slowly and don’t disturb your eyesight early on. It is commonly seen in older people because cataracts will eventually interfere with the vision overtime.
Causes of cataracts- the cloud lenses
Mostly, cataracts develop when aging or injury changes the tissue that makes up your eye’s lens. Some cataracts are because of inherited genetic disorders that may lead to other health conditions and increase your risk of cataracts. Cataracts may also be result of various eye conditions, medical conditions like diabetes, trauma or previous eye surgery. Long term use of steroid medications may also contribute to cataracts.
Diagnoses of cataracts- the cloud lenses
Cataract is diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination that includes:
- Visual acuity test: This eye chart test measures how well you see at various distances.
- Dilated eye exam: Drops are placed in your eyes to widen the pupils. Your ophthalmologist uses a magnifying lens to examine your retina and optic nerve for signs of damage and other eye problems.
- Tonometry: Numbing drops may be applied to your eye to check the pressure inside the eye.
Signs and symptoms of cataracts include the following:
- Clouded, blurred or dim vision
- Increasing difficulty with vision at night
- Sensitivity to light and glare
- Regular changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
- Fading or yellowing of colours
- Double vision in a single eye
Initially, the cloudiness in your vision caused by a cataract may affect only a small part of the eye’s lens and you may not be aware of any vision loss
. As the cataract develops more, it covers major portion of your lens and distorts the light passing through the lens.
The symptoms of early cataract may be rectified with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses. If these measures fail to respond, surgery is the only option. It involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens.
An eye specialist suggests surgery to treat cataract only when vision loss interferes with your everyday activities, such as driving, reading, or watching TV. You do not have to rush into surgery because delaying cataract surgery will not cause long-term damage to your eye or make the surgery more difficult. You and your eye specialist can make this decision together.
Sometimes a cataract should be removed if it prevents examination or treatment of another eye problem, such as age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy. If your eye doctor finds a cataract, you may not need cataract surgery for several years. By having your vision tested regularly, you and your eye doctor can discuss if and when you might need treatment.
Ophthalmologists think several strategies may be helpful to prevent cataracts or slow the progression of cataracts including: