Ever wonder what is a cataract? Cataract is the leading cause of blindness in the world. When a clouded, denseness appears in the lens of the eye, it is known as a cataract. The dense clouds are due to clumping of proteins. The cloudiness prevents the lens from sending signals to the brain. The onset of the disease is gradual and can eventually lead to a complete loss of vision.
One or both eyes may get affected. If the cataract is present in both eyes, chances are it would have developed at different times.
The symptoms of cataract are pronounced.
- Blurred vision is one of the first signs of cataract.
- Night vision takes a beating
- Colors look faded.
- Lights appear to have a halo.
- The affected eye suffers from double vision.
- Patients need to change their spectacles frequently.
There are many reasons why cataract can happen. Ageing, radiation, congenital issues, and many other factors contribute to susceptibility towards cataract.
This is one of the most common causes of cataract. The eye lens suffers degeneration over a period. The lens deterioration can happen much before than usual because of lifestyle diseases like diabetes and hypertension. The body is unable to restore the loss of lens quality. Medication intervention is the only solution.
Smoking and drinking contribute majorly towards increasing the odds of having a cataract. Smoking causes oxidation in the eye lens leading to changing the physiology of the lens. It also leads to metals collecting in the lens adding to the degeneration of the lens.
Apart from a host of other harmful effects, the radiations alter the DNA of the lens. UV rays, X-rays, and even microwaves can change the lens forever. Injuries caused due to heat and electricity change the protein structure of the lens much like how turns white on boiling.
Chromosomal abnormalities contribute towards cataracts in children. Genes play a pivotal role towards developing a cataract. If your parents or grandparents suffered from it, there are high chances of you forming the same.
Many types of medications, especially those given for schizophrenia, cause cataract. Even low consumption of Vitamin C increases the incidence of having a cataract.
Injuries to the eyes can cause changes in the thickness of the lens either due to swelling, inflammation or otherwise. Depending on the kind and severity of the trauma, fluid may enter the lens and cause inflammation and clouding of the lens.
Depending on the location and the manner of development of cataract, there are many kinds.
- Nuclear Cataracts
These form in the center of the lens and can cause discoloration of the lens. The nucleus of the lens may even harden due to brown pigment deposits
- Cortical Cataracts
These form around the edges of the nucleus due to alterations in the fluid around the lens.
- Posterior Capsular Cataracts
These occur at the back of the lens and are much quicker in their formation.
- Congenital Cataracts
These are present since birth.
- Secondary cataracts
These are caused due to medications or due to some other diseases.
Have you read our blog on Cataract Surgery? Learn more about the facts and methods here!