What is a Cataract?
A cataract is a slow, progressive clouding of the eye's natural lens. It interferes with light passing through the eye to the retina.
Cataracts are caused by a change in the proteins of the eye, which causes clouding or discoloration of the lens. Over time cataracts typically result in blurred or fuzzy vision and sensitivity to light.
People with progressed cataracts often describe the sensation as looking through a piece of wax paper. A cataract may make light from the sun or a lamp seem too bright, causing glare. Colors may not appear as bright as they once did, however, most cataracts develop so slowly that people usually don’t realize that their color vision has markedly deteriorated. Oncoming headlights may cause uncomfortable glare at night, making driving more difficult. There is a myth that cataracts have to “ripen’, before they can be removed. This was true before about 1930, when the surgical technique to remove cataracts was quite primitive and the surgical outcome was essentially awful, even in uncomplicated cases.
Patients essentially had to be blind from their cataract before surgery, so they could appreciate the poor vision that their very thick glasses provided afterward. These days, when the average cataract patient usually sees better after surgery than his peers who may have a minimal cataract, we wait until the patient finds that the cataract is interfering in his lifestyle. Patients have cataract surgery because they are having difficulty seeing the golf ball, or reading the financial pages, or have difficulty driving at night. The most common response on the day after surgery is, “When can I have the other eye done?” followed by “Why did I wait so long?”.
Causes of Cataracts:
- Getting Older - Age is a major cause of developing cataracts.
- Birth defect like abnormal conditions in the eyes of unborn babies
- Environmental factors such as disease, toxic chemicals, medications
- Accidents or Injuries
- Exposure to ultraviolet light
- Cigarette Smoking
- Need more light to read
- Frustration from bright lights
- Night Driving Problems
- Increased eyestrain
- Double Vision
- Cloudy, fuzzy and blurry vision
- Colors seem faded or yellow
- Frequent changes in eyeglass prescription