A cataract is a very common problem seen at eye clinics. It happens naturally in many people with age, which is the most common type. But it can also happen in young eyes that have been having other health issues. When a cataract is present there is a clouding over the lens of the eye, occurring right behind the iris and pupil. This clouding can be seen when looking directly at someone’s eye, which makes it easy to spot. Cataracts are quite easily the most common reason for vision problems among humans, and the number one reason for any vision loss in people over age 40. In global terms, cataracts is the top cause for blindness. Cataracts, in fact, is so common that the number of people suffering from the condition totals more than those of macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy combined.
There are several types of cataracts that can occur. A subcapsular cataract happens near the back of the lens and is more commonly seen in those suffering from diabetes or people taking high doses of steroid medications. Another type is a nuclear cataract, so named because it forms deep within the nucleus of the lens. This is the kind you most frequently see with aging eyes. A white, wedge-shaped opacity that begins in the periphery of the lens and works toward the center of the eye is known as a comical cataract and ends up forming shapes that look like spokes of a wheel in the eye. So how do you know if you are developing a cataract? They usually start out very small and barely affect your vision. You may think you are just suffering from dry eyes or something similar, but if this blurry vision persists it is worth getting checked out. If it feels like you are looking through a cloudy piece of glass all day, you may be developing a cataract. Haziness or cloudiness of vision is the most common sign of a cataract, but other signs also exist. Do lamps in your home seem very bright at night? When you drive in the dark do opposing headlights seem glaring and difficult to see past? Do colors appear dull? These are all possible signs of cataracts that have formed and may be causing permanent damage to your eyes. Some types of cataracts are noticeable right away, and others don’t cause signs or symptoms to show until they are fully developed and in place.
So what can you do to prevent this from happening to your eyes? In a way, some cataracts are completely unavoidable because they can happen with age in otherwise healthy eyes. However, other cataracts are the result of other chronic eye conditions, misuse of contact lenses over many years, or injuries to the eye. To keep yourself protected from these occurrences it is best to visit your eye doctor annual to get checked. If they see early signs of any cataracts they can begin treatment right away and alleviate some or all symptoms. If the cataracts develops fully and becomes a nuisance there are cataracts surgery options available.