What Causes Cataracts?

The eye functions much like a camera. Light rays enter the eye, passing through the cornea, the aqueous humor — transparent fluid in the front of the eye and then the pupil and into the lens. The lens bends the light rays to focus objects onto the retina lining the back of the eye. From there, the image passes through the retinal cells, into the optic nerve, and finally to the back of the brain which process the images.

Cataracts occur when there is a buildup of protein in the lens that makes it cloudy. This prevents light from passing clearly through the lens, causing some loss of vision. Since new lens cells form on the outside of the lens, all the older cells are compacted into the center of the lens resulting in the cataract.

Types of cataracts include:

1) Age-related cataracts – As the name suggests, this type of cataract develops as a result of aging.
2) Congenital cataracts – Babies are sometimes born with cataracts as a result of an infection, injury, or poor development before they were born, or they may develop during childhood.
3) Secondary cataracts – These develop as a result of other medical conditions, like diabetes, or exposure to toxic substances, certain drugs (such as corticosteroids or diuretics), ultraviolet light, or radiation.
4) Traumatic cataracts – These form after injury to the eye.

What Are the Symptoms of Cataracts?

Cataracts usually form slowly and cause few symptoms until they noticeably block light. When symptoms are present, they can include:

1) Vision that is cloudy, blurry, foggy, or filmy
2) Progressive nearsightedness in older people often called “second sight” because although their distance vision is deteriorating, they may no longer need reading glasses.
3) Changes in the way you see color because the discolored lens acts as a filter.
4) Problems driving at night such as glare from oncoming headlights.
5) Problems with glare during the day.
6) Double vision while looking through the eye with a cataract (like a superimposed image).

Cataract surgery is a procedure to remove the lens of your eye and, in most cases, replace it with an artificial lens. Cataract surgery is used to treat the clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye (cataract).

Cataract surgery is performed by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) on an outpatient basis, which means you don’t have to stay in the hospital after the surgery. Cataract surgery is very common and is generally a safe procedure.