Eye Health

The Reality of Cataract: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Cataract can be rightly said to be one of the most notorious eye conditions affecting millions in the United States and across the globe. It might shock you to learn that about 20.5 million Americans with a minimum age of 40 are suffering from cataracts. By 2020, these cataracts figures could alarmingly jump to 30 million Americans. One way or another, we must have caught wind of the word cataract. Thus, you may be curious to know more about it, cutting through its symptoms, as far as its possible treatment.

Firstly, what is cataract?

To start with, let us uncover the fog of cataract. Cataract is where the lens of the eye gradually becomes cloudy as one ages. The haziness that occurs as cataract forms gradually distort our vision until blindness occurs.

The lens of our eyes shares a typical resemblance with the lens of a camera in terms of functionality. When the lens of your camera gets dirty, possibly from debris or even accumulated fingerprints, what happens? Simply, light finds it hard to penetrate the lens emanating in dull or hazy pictures. This is closely what happens to our vision in the case of cataracts.

Secondly, what are the symptoms of cataract, as well as the causes?

Just like an ocean starts with a single drop of water, so gradually and steadily cataract consolidates in tiny stages until it obstructs vision noticeably. Unfortunately, in most cases, the worrisome progression in the formation of cataract is not easily noticeable. However, there are some symptoms that will alert you to the possible onset of cataract. These include:

  • Your vision begins to get dim, cloudy or blurry.
  • You begin to notice a deterioration in the sensitivity of your eyes to lights.
  • You struggle to grasp colors.
  • Your night vision is affected.
  • You could experience double vision from one of your eyes.

Normally cataract, as envisaged in these symptoms, are quite common when we age. Otherwise, conditions like diabetes, obesity, hypertension, smoking and excessive intake of alcohol can facilitate the occurrence of cataract. In other instances, cataract can be facilitated by sustained exposure to UV radiation or even genetic.

Slowing the onset of cataract

As troubling as cataract sounds, the good news is that you can treat the condition. It starts with a healthy diet. Targeted meals with a significant composition of Vitamin E and C can be very helpful. Also, eating more of foods that contain zeaxanthin and lutein is helpful as these nutrition help in slowing the pace at which cataract form. Outside the dining table, you can cut down on unhealthy habits like smoking and excessive drinking. Also, cutting down on your exposure your to UV radiation (e.g. sunlight) by making sure to wear sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection. You can also ensure these glasses have anti-glare coating, particularly for night driving. All in all, a visit to an eye specialist would be maximally helpful when treating cataracts.

Treatment for cataract

When cataract gets to the point where your vision is noticeably impaired, the standard treatment is to remove the cataract via surgery and to replace the affected lens with an intraocular lens. This could be done using phacoemulsification as the standard treatment method. An example of a more advanced treatment includes laser surgery, which more precisely slices the cataract into pieces for easier removal from the eye.

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