Cataracts Symptoms – Everything You Need To Know
A cataract is an eye condition characterized by the clouding of the lens inside the eye. People with cataracts usually have blurry vision, and the effect of the condition on vision is similar to looking through a frosty glass. Cataracts make reading and performing simple tasks like driving or engaging in your hobby difficult.
Most times, cataracts develop slowly, and in a few cases, it develops rapidly. If left untreated over time, it interferes with vision. Wearing eyeglasses or using stronger lighting may make dealing with cataracts easy, but you need cataracts surgery to avoid complete vision loss. Cataract surgery is safe and effective in treating cataracts, so you have nothing to worry about.
Symptoms of Cataracts
The following are common symptoms of cataracts
- Blurred, dim, or clouded vision
- Glare and sensitivity to light
- Halos around light
- Yellowing or fading of colors
- Increased difficulty to see images at night
- Need for stronger lightening to read and perform other activities
- Frequent need to change contacts or glasses prescription
The cloudiness most people with cataracts experience is due to covering only a small part of the lens at first. This makes most people remain unaware of vision difficulties. Still, as cataracts grow larger and cover a larger portion of the lens, it distorts the light passing through the lens to the optic nerve, leading to different symptoms.
When you should see a doctor
Ensure you schedule an appointment with your doctor if you notice any vision changes like flashes or double vision, sudden headache or pain, or double vision.
Causes of cataracts
Most times, cataracts occur due to injuries that affect the eye tissues or ageing. Sometimes, inherited genetic disorders may increase the risk of developing cataracts.
Cataracts may also result from other eye conditions, medical conditions like diabetes, or past surgery. Using steroid medications over a long period can also increase the risk of developing cataracts.
How does cataract form?
The lens is found behind the iris, the coloured part of the eyes. Normally, the lens helps to focus the light passing through the eyes, resulting in clear, sharp images formed on the retina, a light-sensitive part of the eyes. The function of the retina in the eye is similar to the film found in a camera.
Ageing causes the eyes to lose its flexibility gradually, makes the eyes less thick and transparent. Ageing and other medical conditions can make the tissues in the lens to breakdown and form clumps, which clouds parts of the lens.
The clouding in the lens becomes denser and spreads across the lens as the cataract develops. Cataracts block and scatter the light passing through the lens, preventing the formation of clear and defined images on the retina. This causes the blurred vision common in people with cataracts.
Most times, cataracts develop in both eyes but do not grow at the same rate. The cataract in one of your eyes may be more advanced than the other, causing you to have a different vision in both eyes.
Types of cataracts
- Nuclear cataracts (affecting the center part of the lens)
This type of cataracts causes nearsightedness at first. Sometimes, it may cause a temporary vision improvement in reading vision. However, the lens will gradually become yellow, making you experience a clouded vision.
- Cortical cataracts (affecting the outer sides of the lens)
Cortical cataracts develop as whitish, wedge-shaped streaks on the edges of the lens. As the condition slowly progresses, the streaks spread to the centre of the eyes, interfering with the light passing through the lens and causes vision problems.
- Posterior subcapsular cataracts (affecting the back of the lens)
This cataract mostly starts as a small, cloudy area that forms at the back of the lens, where light passes the lens. The cataract affects the reading vision, causes halos and glare, and reduced vision in bright light. Posterior subcapsular cataracts usually grow faster than other types of cataracts.
- Congenital cataracts (people who have cataracts at birth)
Some people develop this cataract during childhood or have them at birth. It may occur due to inter uterine trauma or infection or genetics. Sometimes, they result from conditions such as rubella or neurofibromatosis type 2, dystrophy or galactosemia.
Most times, a congenital cataract does not affect vision, but you can remove them if you notice any changes in your vision.
Risk factors for cataracts
The following increase your risk of developing cataracts.
- Previous eye injury
- High blood pressure
- Previous eye inflammation or injury
- Excess exposure to sunlight
- Drinking excess alcohol
- Prolonged use of steroid medications
Prevention of cataracts
Presently, no certain medication can prevent cataracts, but medical experts suggest the following to help prevent and slow the development of cataracts.
- Have routine eye exams
Having your routine eye exams can help in the early detection of cataracts or other eye conditions you may have before they damage your eyes.
- Stop smoking
Smoking increases your risk of developing cataracts, so you can ask your doctor for suggestions on quitting smoking. Certain medications and counselling may help you stop smoking.
- Manage your health problems
If you have certain health problems like diabetes, ensure you get the right treatment and adhere to your treatment plan to reduce the risk of developing cataracts.
- Including vegetables and fruits in your diet plan will give a healthy diet
Including various vegetables and fruits in your diet will give you the nutrients and vitamins your body needs. Vegetables and fruits contain antioxidants, which maintain your eyes’ health.
Most studies have proved that healthy diets rich in minerals and vitamins reduce the risk of having cataracts, but antioxidants gotten from medications do not have the same effect. Taking enough fruits and vegetable also have other significant effects on your health.
- Reduce intake of alcohol
Ingesting large amounts of alcohol increases the risk of developing cataracts, so limiting the amount of alcohol will help keep your eyes healthy
- Wear sunglasses
UV light from direct exposure of your eyes to sunlight can increase your risk of having cataracts. Wearing sunglasses prevents direct UVB rays from the sun. Cataracts may cause blindness if left untreated, so ensure you get a cataracts operation in London at Optimal Vision to prevent vision loss. You can contact Optimal Vision on 020 7183 3725 to schedule an appointment for your eye examination and cataracts surgery today.
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