All You Need To Know About Cataract

Many assume cataract is vision problems in the elderly since it is estimated that half the people who reach the age of 80 years are going to develop cataract. Did you know? That’s just half of the story. If you’re approaching 40 or may have passed that mark, here is more information and insights for all you need to know about cataract.

What is a cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the naturally clear lens of the eye which lies behind the iris and the pupil that is responsible for vision. Cataract can occur in one eye or both the eyes but it’s not contagious! The lens must be clear for the retina to receive a sharp image. However, if the lens is cloudy due to cataract, the image you see will be blurred.

Types of cataract

Cataract can be categorised under various categories such as:

  • Subcapsular cataract that occurs at the back of the lens. If you are diabetic or have been taking high doses of steroid medications, then you are at a greater risk of developing subcapsular cataract.
  • The nuclear cataract forms deep in the nucleus of the lens and is usually associated with aging.
  • The cortical cataract is characterised by white, wedge-like opacities that start at the periphery of the lens and work their way to the centre in a spoke-like fashion. This type of cataract occurs in the cortex, which is part of the lens that surrounds the central nucleus.

Symptoms and signs of cataract

A cataract usually starts out small. Initially, it has a very little effect on your vision. You may notice that a little blurred vision – almost like looking through a cloudy piece of glass. The light from the sun or a lamp seems too bright or glaring or you notice when you drive at night, the oncoming headlights causes more glare than ever. Colours may appear dull too. If you pay attention, you can recognise some of their symptoms in the less advanced stages. The symptoms of early cataract may be solved with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting or anti-glare sunglasses to some extent. In case these measures do not help, probably you need a surgery.

What causes cataract?

The lens of the eye works much like a camera lens and it is mostly made of water and protein. The protein is arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens clear and lets the light pass through, but as we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. It may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it harder to see. Researchers worldwide have identified factors that may cause cataracts besides advancing age:

  • Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and other sources
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Prolonged use of medications like corticosteroid
  • Medicines used to reduce cholesterol
  • Previous eye injury or inflammation
  • Previous eye surgery
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Significant alcohol consumption
  • Family history

Cataract may affect only one eye

It’s more common to develop “bilateral cataracts,” but some people are only affected on one side. This can happen when you suffer from a trauma to one eye. It is always recommended that you see an eye doctor if you’ve suffered any type of incident or accident around your eyes. Cataract affects in different forms: A cataract can affect in a different way for different people. Some can develop this disease and see perfectly fine, however, with the only difference being that light affects them more than other people. Others may have difficulty when there is little light or at night, but in natural light, they see well.

You may not need to do surgery

Ask the doctor if the surgery is really needed. Sometimes, some medications and regular visits to the eye doctor might avoid the need for a surgery. Only your doctor can tell you if you have cataract and the best procedure is surgery.

Prevention of cataract

Visit your eye doctor at least once a year to prevent the occurrence of cataract and other eye disorders as you age. They will tell you if you have a specific problem or if there actually are any signs of cataract. Eat healthy to slow their progression.

Common Eye Ailments You Need to Be Aware Of

Eye ailments are cynical if you think about it. Problems in your eyes may not happen just with old age. Those can happen to you even if you are as fit as a fiddle. Either way, eyes are your greatest assets and so, it is important to celebrate them. The most important body feature apart from your teeth! Your eyes are the window to your soul but you also consume the world with your eyes. You eat with your eyes first, no? There is no point in taking your eyes for granted, for common eye ailments. Here is what you need to know so you can maintain your eye health to the T.

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is contagious and one of the most common eye ailments. It comes in different forms. For instance, the infection can result from having a cold or other viral infection. Wearing infected lenses also are one of the leading causes of this disease. If you are allergic to animals or pollen, your eyes can get dry and itchy; this is the allergic form of conjunctivitis. Antibiotics are best to treat this common eye ailment.

Myopia

Did you ever have trouble looking at far away things? If you’ve been to an eye doctor’s office, this is a routine test given to patients. The test helps the optician to choose the best prescription glasses for you. Myopia can cause things at a distance to appear blurry. This is also known as a refraction error of the eye, so being near-sighted or far-sighted is a part of it. Age is also a factor and is a leading factor in developing myopia after the age of 40. Although wearing the right prescription glasses, taking vitamins may help prevent myopia, there is not enough evidence to prove this. Either way, wearing glasses or the right contact lenses can help cure the refraction errors.

Cataract

Ok so this one is more common with the aging population, but can happen at any age. Regardless, you need to know of this eye ailment. This way, you can prepare yourself and take better care of your eye health before it is too late. The cataract disease affects your lenses, clouding the eyes. It is the leading causes of blindness in most countries. There are many risk factors of cataract such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, just to name a few. You’ll be surprised to know that overexposure to the UV (ultra-violet) rays is one of the main reasons that cause cataract at any age. Untreated cataract causes severe damage to your lenses, causing vision loss. It’s not all that bad, though. The best way to cure yourself out of a cataract condition is a swift surgery – which is covered by most insurance policies too!

Glaucoma

This one is a silent killer – and it’s hereditary. In the sense, it may not show you any real symptoms or signs. This common ailment affects the nerves in your eyes. The prolonged pressure inside the eye can cause serious damage and even vision loss if left untreated. There is evidence that cancer can cause glaucoma. Although this eye ailment cannot be cured, regular visits to the doctor can help you get started on treatments to prevent further damage.

Keratoconus

Just as a robust steel skeleton holds a concrete building in place, so do collagen fibres in your eyes. These fibres keep the shape of your cornea. This is not a common eye ailment, but it isn’t rare either so that’s why we’re talking about it. You need to know of keratoconus because it can be cured with treatment. Otherwise, there is always a keratoconus transplant surgery for this eye ailment.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Yes, diabetes has serious repercussions and a common eye ailment as diabetic Diabetic Retinopathy is one of them. Diabetes gets extreme amounts of blood sugar in your blood. Prolonged high doses of sugar in your blood causes severe damage and rupture to your eyes. With the fast increasing numbers of diabetic patients in the world, keep your eye out for this common eye ailment. Although there is no cure for this (yet) laser treatments and surgical removal of the damage blood vessels in your eye help improve vision.

Macular Degeneration

This is another age-related common eye ailment. You will not believe it but this common ailment has a “Dry” and “wet” form. The dry form takes at least 10 years to complete vision loss. The wet form is more cynical. It’s bad enough that there is no cure AND factors such as smoking and family history increase the risk factors to Macular Degeneration. Then again, there are treatments available now to delay the speed at which this disease progresses. Make sure to see your eye doctor (ophthalmologist) who can help detect any early signs and help you prevent its progression.

Do you know what these common eye ailments have in common? These diseases can be prevented or even cured if detected early. Remember to keep your doctor’s appointments – especially if you wear glasses. See you doctor regularly to make sure you maintain your eye health regardless of your age.