What is a Cataract?
Posted by: Eyecare Associates of New Orleans in Eye Health on February 21, 2023
What is a Cataract? A cataract is a dense, cloudy area that forms in the eye’s lens. A cataract begins when proteins in the eye form clumps that prevent the lens from sending clear images to the retina. The retina converts the light that comes through the lens into signals. It sends the signals to the optic nerve, which carries them to the brain. A cataract develops slowly and eventually interferes with your vision. You might have cataracts in both eyes, but they usually don’t form simultaneously.
What Causes Cataracts?
Aging is the most common cause. Did you know that cataracts affect over 20 million adults 40 and older in the US alone, and half of all seniors age 80 and up? This is primarily due to normal eye changes that start around the age of 40. At this age, this is when normal proteins in the lens begin to break down, which causes the lens to get cloudy. Those over age 60 typically start to have some clouding of their lenses.
Other reasons you may get cataracts include the following:
- Genetics – having parents, brothers, sisters, or other family members who have cataracts
- Medical issues, such as diabetes
- Having had an eye injury, eye surgery, or radiation treatments on your upper body
- Spending a lot of time in the sun, especially without sunglasses that protect your eyes from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays.
- Certain medications, such as corticosteroids, may cause the early formation of cataracts.
Most age-related cataracts develop gradually, while other cataracts can develop more quickly in those with diabetes.
Listed below are some vision changes you may notice if you have a cataract:
- Having blurry vision
- Seeing double (when you see two images instead of one)
- Being extra sensitive to light
- Have trouble seeing well at night or need more light when you read
- Seeing bright colors as faded or yellow
Is There A Way To Slow Down the Development Of Cataracts?
Protecting your eyes from sunlight is the best way to slow the development of cataracts. Wear sunglasses that screen out the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light rays. You may also wear regular eyeglasses that have a clear, anti-UV coating. Talk with your eye doctor to learn about your options.
Experiencing Cataract Symptoms?
If you have noticed changes to your vision, like the symptoms we listed above, it is a good idea to come in for an eye exam. In this modern age of incredible medical advancements, there is no reason to ignore your eye health. Give us a call TODAY to learn more or to schedule an appointment!
References: American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Optometry. This blog provides information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The content provided in this blog and any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, they should consult with an appropriately licensed physician.