Facts About Cataracts that You Need to Know
One of the main reasons that people develop cataracts is the aging process, but they can also occur if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, smoke, drink too much alcohol, have a family history of cataracts and numerous other medical problems. The first symptom of cataracts is usually that your vision is hampered by “cloudy” lens. Cataracts develop slowly and usually don’t impair your vision until later on.
Cataracts form on the lens part of the eye which is behind the iris. Lens use light that comes into your eye and send an image to the brain of what you’re seeing. If you have cataracts forming on your lens, they will cause the light to disperse and a clear image won’t be presented to the brain. Your vision then becomes blurred.
The aging process causes changes in the lens, such as inflexibility and thickness, and that clouds may form around the lens. As the cataracts begin to shadow over the lens, your vision becomes even more blurry. There are several types of cataracts including those you are born with, and others such as:
- Posterior subcapsular cataracts – This type of cataract forms in the back of the eye’s lens. You might notice glaring, especially at night — and reduced ability to read.
- Nuclear cataracts – Nearsightedness is common to those with nuclear cataracts. You may also have double vision and have trouble seeing colors.
- Cortical cataracts – These cataracts affect the outer edge of the lens cortex and as they grow, streaks or opaque film moves more to the center of the lens. Some people experience night time glaring with this type of cataract.
Cataracts can occur in both your eyes, or only one and can begin slowing so that you may not really notice big changes in your vision. But, as the cataract grows, you’ll begin to notice vision loss and cloudiness. When this occurs, it’s time to make an appointment with an ophthalmologist.
To prepare for your appointment thoroughly, be sure to jot down the symptoms you’re having and any questions that you may want to ask the doctor. Since some medications directly cause blurred vision, write down a list of all the medications you’re taking and present them to the doctor at your appointment. As with all important medical appointments, it’s good if you can take someone with you to possibly hear statements that you miss.
At the onset of cataracts, you’ll probably notice that you’re having difficulty reading and driving a car. Glasses may help at first, but if the cataracts begin to hinder your lifestyle, it’s time to see an ophthalmologist and think about cataract surgery. If you decide to have cataract surgery, you should know that it’s a fairly safe procedure and is usually very effective in restoring your vision.
Bilateral cataracts in an infant due to congenital rubella syndrome