Cataracts, which affect our vision, are a clouding of the eye’s lens, and most of them are attributed to aging. With normal vision, light passes through the lens, which is transparent, and when it reaches the retina, it becomes nerve signals that are transmitted to the brain. When the eye is clouded, you will see a blurred image, rather than one that is sharp.
How Your Vision Can Change
The lens consists mainly of water and protein that allows light to pass through it. When a cataract forms, some protein may begin clumping together, cause clouding of a section of the lens, and continue to grow gradually.
When a cataract starts to grow, the cloudiness will only affect a tiny section of the lens, and you may not be aware of any changes in your ability to see. In time, the lens may become a yellowish/brown, rather than clear, and your vision may acquire a brownish tint as well. As a result, you may find it difficult to read or complete other routine tasks.
How Cataracts Are Treated
The symptoms related to “early cataract” may be treated effectively with a new eyeglass prescription, magnifying lenses, anti-glare sunglasses, or improved lighting, and in time, surgery may also be required. Your eye care professional will guide you in determining if and when cataract surgery is needed, and there is usually no need to rush in making your decision. Also, this is one of the most frequently performed operations in this country, along with being a safe and effective type of surgery. Approximately 90% of those who undergo the procedure find that their vision has improved afterward.
Reducing the Risk of Cataracts
While the exact cause of cataracts is still unclear, medical professionals indicate that you may lessen your risk of developing cataracts by doing the following:
- having regular eye examinations,
- giving up smoking if you have the habit,
- wearing sunglasses to block UVB rays,
- taking care of your overall health and maintaining a healthy weight, and
- maintaining a healthy diet with a good amount of fruit and vegetables to ensure that you have an adequate supply of the nutrients you need.
“Facts About Cataracts [NEI Health Information].” National Eye Institute [NEI], of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2010. http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/cataract/cataract_facts.asp.
“Cataract: What You Should Know.” National Eye Institute. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web. 27 July 2010. www.nei.nih.gov/health/cataract/webcataract.pdf.
“Cataracts: Prevention – MayoClinic.com.” Mayo Clinic medical information and tools for healthy living – MayoClinic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2010. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cataracts/DS00050/DSECTION=prevention.