How and Why Cataracts Develop
Cataracts are a common, age-related eye-condition affecting people who are age 60 and over. More than 200,000 US cases are diagnosed per year. In fact, about 70 percent of people over the age of 75 have cataracts.
The condition can be chronic or lifelong and is treatable by a medical professional. So how and why do cataracts develop? We’ll discuss that in just a few moments. First, let’s talk about the symptoms of cataracts for a better understanding of the big picture.
5 Common Symptoms of Cataracts
While cataracts require a medical diagnosis, it’s likely you’ll be the first to notice the symptoms that lead up to the diagnosis. Symptoms include:
- Blurry vision
- Faded colors, yellowing of vision, and/or difficulty distinguishing colors from one another
- Sensitivity to light and glare
- Decreased ability to see in low light situations, such as during the evening
- Double vision
Now that you know the most common symptoms of cataracts, we can talk about what cataracts are, how (and why) cataracts develop, treatment options, and how to lessen your risk of developing cataracts during your life.
What is a Cataract
A cataract is the result of clumps of protein forming in the lens, forming a cloud. This clouding cuts back on the amount of light reaching the retina, causing blurred vision. This is typically how age-related cataracts form. Over time, the lens dulls, turning the formerly clear lens into a yellow or brown, tinting vision in the same color. This cloudy tinting from the cataract eventually makes it difficult to read, distinguish colors, and perceive fine details.
How Cataracts Develop
In a normal, healthy eye, the role of the lens is to focus light on the back of the eye. This allows select nerves to perceive the image or images and transmit them to the brain, which tells us what we are seeing. This process is disrupted when cataracts form. With cataracts, the lens becomes cloudy, causing obscured and distorted light coming into the eye. The result is reduced vision that is blurry and poor. If you have cataracts in both eyes, this causes a further reduction in your vision.
Cataract Treatment & Cataract Surgery, Buckhead GA
The visual side effects of early cataracts can be treated or corrected with prescription eyeglasses, but cataracts do not go away or reverse. Surgery is usually recommended when eyeglasses no longer work to correct the side effects of cataracts.
How to Minimize Risk
- Start baseline exams at the age of 40, followed by visits every two years to check for any changes to your vision.
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid heavy drinking
- Wear your sunglasses and protect your eyes – overexposure to sunlight has been proven to be a causative factor in the development of cataracts.
Causes of Cataracts
- Health issues such as diabetes
- Eye injury
- Exposure to radiation
- Extended use of steroids
- Surgery for other conditions such as glaucoma
If you suspect that you may have cataracts, don’t delay. Call for an evaluation and consultation with Georgia Eye Associates today and get your vision back!