What is a Cataract?
Cataract is a cloudiness in the lens of the eye. It can occur in both eyes or in only one, however it cannot spread from one eye to the other.
Cataracts will generally affect both eyes, however the progression of the cataract can be very different from one eye to the other.
Normally, the lens of the eye is completely clear and light enters through the lens of the eye onto the retina to form a clear image. When cloudiness appears in the lens of the eye, it interferes with the transmission of light onto the retina and the vision is impaired.
The greater the cloudiness the worse the vision becomes until eventually only light and dark can be distinguished.
What causes Cataract?
Most Cataracts are a result of aging and long-term exposure to ultraviolet light. Some are caused by injury and certain diseases and in rare cases can be caused by exposure to toxic materials and radiation. The risk of cataract rises rapidly from the age of 50-60 and keeps rising as you age.
Children/babies can have a cataract and sometimes be born blind from it. This is called congenital cataract and is rare. When a baby is born with cataracts, early treatment is important to prevent a life of blindness.
Can Cataracts be Prevented?
Due to risk factors such as age and family predisposition for the likelihood of getting Cataracts, it is not generally possible to prevent this condition.
There has been no proven method of preventing Cataracts. Long-term exposure to UV light is thought to induce cataracts, so remember to practice caution by wearing sunglasses.