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Cataract: What it is, symptoms, and causes

Goficure - Blog Page - Cataract: What it is, symptoms, and causes (Blog Post) Last Updated March 5, 2024

Overview

A cataract occurs when the natural lens of the eye becomes opaque or cloudy. It interferes with the normal vision of the eye. It usually develops in older people who are aged 55 or more.

Cataracts develop in both eyes, but one eye may be worse. Cataract surgery is performed to remove the cataract and clear the vision.

During the initial stage, the vision may not be affected severely. As the condition progresses, you may experience dim or cloudy vision. Cataracts if left untreated, can cause vision loss.

What is a cataract?

The natural lens of the eyes is made of a special type of protein called crystallins. As we age, these proteins break down to form cloudy patches or lumps. It forms a hazy outline and interferes with the vision. Over time, the cataract can grow in size and even lead to total blindness.

If you have a cataract, you may find it difficult to see things clearly and carry out your daily activities. It seems like seeing through a frosty or foggy window.

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Symptoms of cataract

At first, mild cataracts may not have any symptoms. It may take months for the cataract symptoms to become noticeable. As they grow in size, you will notice some blurriness in vision.

Cataracts can progress differently in each eye. You may notice some traces of vision loss in one eye, while the other eye may seem normal.

Cataract symptoms include:

  • Eyes become sensitive to light
  • The light from the lamp or sun is dazzling or too bright
  • Start noticing a visual halo or a glowing ring around headlights or bright lights
  • Double vision
  • Difficulty seeing in the dark, at night, or in dim lights
  • Seeing faded colours or yellowing of colours
  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass prescriptions

Cataracts are usually not painful, but if the condition is not treated on time, it can cause pain.

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What causes cataracts?

A cataract is an age-related condition and mostly occurs in old age. Other than aging, certain factors can cause cataracts.

Cataract causes include:

Diabetes

High blood glucose levels can cause structural changes in the eye lens and lead to cataract formation.

Ultraviolet radiation

Unprotected exposure to ultraviolet rays puts you at risk of developing cataracts.

Alcohol and smoking

Studies show that too much consumption of alcohol or a significant amount of smoking increases the risks of cataract formation.

Family history

If your parents, siblings, or close relatives have had cataracts, there are chances that you may develop the condition in the future.

Medications

Prolonged consumption of certain medications like corticosteroids can cause cataracts

Deficiency in nutrition

People with low levels of vitamins C and E and antioxidants can develop cataracts.

Trauma or injury

Some trauma, inflammation, or previous eye injury can cause cataracts.

Eye surgery

Radiation treatment done on the upper part of the body or eye surgery can result in cataracts.

Stop your suffering NOW

Don't just jump into a surgery because your doctor is advising you to go for it. Consult our doctors to know if you need a surgery at all. Rest assured, we WON'T recommend you surgery unless it's the last resort.

Can young people get cataracts?

Though cataracts primarily affect the older population, it can occur at any age. Cataracts can occur during birth as a congenital birth defect and are known as congenital cataracts. Congenital cataracts can be hereditary if the baby’s parents have them or due to chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome.

Young adults and children can have cataracts due to the following reasons:

  • Experienced some eye injury or trauma
  • Taking some steroid medication or radiation therapy
  • Have diabetes mellitus

Scientific research has revealed that prolonged exposure to electronic devices or smartphones can be a contributing factor to an increasing number of young individuals developing this disease.

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Final words

Cataract is a very common ailment in older people. Though cataract surgery is the only treatment for cataracts, you may not require it right away. At early cataract stages, you may not find it difficult to carry out activities. Your ophthalmologist may give you a new pair of prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses to manage the symptoms.

Cataract surgery is done, when the condition is restricting you from your daily activities, traveling, reading, driving, etc.

Dos
  • Consult a doctor if there are early signs of cataract
  • Avoid polluted areas with high levels of dust and pollutants post-surgery
  • Take rest for a few days to allow healing from surgery
Don'ts
  • Perform heavy activities after cataract surgery
  • Rub your eyes post-surgery
  • Go swimming

 

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