Cataracts are an eye condition characterized by a clouding of the eye’s lens. The clouding results in blurred vision that can result in minor opaque vision to complete blindness. Cataracts typically occur in older individuals, and if not treated, will result in complete vision loss. While cataracts are a serious risk to vision loss, they can be treated with surgery for complete vision correction. In developing countries, cataracts are major cause of blindness due to the lack of access to cataract treatments.
People who start to experience cataracts will first notice a light discoloration in their vision, loss of contrast sensitivity, “halos” around bright lights, and minor cloudy vision. Additional to color and vision distortion, it’s common to experience a light amount of myopia due to the lens clouding. While cataracts typically effect both eyes, it is common for one eye to experience symptoms prior to the onset of the other eye developing a cataract. As cataracts develop, vision becomes cloudier and symptoms will typically worsen.
Causes of Cataracts
Cataracts can be caused by many different factors. Health conditions such as Diabetes and Hypertension can lead to cataract development, as can old age or genetic factors. Some cataracts develop after eye trauma, and research has shown that radiation from UV rays, microwaves, or even infrared waves can lead to the development of cataracts. While cataracts share a wide range of causes, the symptoms are usually the same, and the treatments typically require surgery to fix the condition.
Treatment of Cataracts
Cataract treatment typically involves a surgical procedure to remove the portion of the lens where the cloudiness is occurring, while leaving the healthy portion of the lens in tact. Most people will receive a lens implant to make up for the portion of the lens which was removed, resulting in clear and healthy vision that allows patients to go home the same day of surgery.