A cataract is an eye problem characterized by the clouding of the natural lens present in the eye. Cataracts are the number one cause of blindness in the world. They usually affect people over age forty.
Signs and symptoms of cataract
Blurry vision is the most common symptom of cataracts. Cataracts start out small. At first, they don’t have a big impact on your vision. As the condition progresses, you may feel that your vision has blurred a little. Cataracts may also make lights too bright. Colors, on the other hand, may appear less bright than they were once. If you suspect that you have a cataract you should consult an eye doctor.
Causes of cataracts
The lens inside our eye works like the lens inside a camera. It focuses light onto the retina and makes our vision clear. And by adjusting the eye’s focus, the lens helps us see things clearly. Our lens is made of protein and water. The protein is arranged in such a way that it lets light rays pass through it. However, as we age, the protein in the lens may clump together and cloud a small portion of the lens. Over time, this will grow bigger and bigger. When a cataract clouds most of the lens, it becomes difficult to see.
It is not exactly clear why cataracts develop. Advancing age is one of the risk factors. Others include:
- Exposure to ultraviolet radiation
- High blood pressure
- Previous eye injury
- Prolonged use of medications containing corticosteroid
- Family history
- Alcoholic consumption
- Prolonged use of some medicines used to control cholesterol levels
- High myopia
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Previous eye surgery
Some studies have shown that certain nutrients may lower your risk of developing cataracts. Foods rich in Vitamin E and carotenoids are thought to be especially beneficial. Spinach, almonds and sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E. Leafy vegetables are rich sources of carotenoids. Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin C may also reduce the risk of developing cataracts. Some experts also recommend wearing sunglasses whenever going out. Make sure that the glasses are capable of blocking 100 percent of sun’s UV rays.
When a cataract is in its initial stage, you will be able to improve your vision by using new glasses, magnification, strong bifocals, appropriate lighting and other visual aids.
You will have to consider surgery when cataracts have worsened enough. Cataract surgery is a simple procedure that can help you regain your vision. This procedure is highly successful. In fact, nine out of ten people who undergo this surgery regain their vision.