Cataracts are formed by the natural process of aging because the initially transparent lens of the eye becomes cloudy and harder and harder.
At some point, mature lenses begin to blur, block, and diffuse light entering the eye. If left untreated, cataracts continue to develop naturally. In some cases, mature cataracts turn completely white, appearing in the mirror and others.
What are the symptoms of cataracts?
- Difficulty Reading: Even with glasses or contact lenses, newspapers, books, and medication labels can be difficult to read.
- It is difficult to see from a distance: Even with glasses or contact lenses, it can be difficult to recognize road signs, house numbers, and neighbors’ faces.
- Glare and halos around lights: Driving at night is uncomfortable and it can be difficult to count the lights.
- Difficult to see things in full light: sight may become extremely blurry in clear light and better in darkened areas.
- Difficult to see in dark or gloomy places: Reading menus in dark restaurants can be difficult.
- The sight is not enough to indulge in hobbies and leisure activities: Reduced vision can lead to distraction from enjoyable activities, which can reduce the quality of life.
How are cataracts treated?
If a cataract that affects vision is detected, the ultimate treatment is surgery. Glasses, polarized lenses, or weak dilation drops can be used to tentatively delay surgery, but over time, cataracts will proceed to improve unless removed. The surgery is usually performed the same day and there is sedation but no general anesthesia. A needle-sized tool is used to remove a cataract and insert a permanent eye lens.
How to reduce the risk of cataracts?
The biggest risk factor for cataracts is age. If you live long enough, everyone will get cataracts. In the United States, one in six people over the age of 40 has cataracts. That said, there are several risk factors you can change.
Smoking: Quitting smoking improves the health of your eyes and many other organs in your body.
UV-B Radiation: Wear sunglasses when going out in strong light.
Diabetes: Work with your primary care doctor to properly manage your blood sugar.
Malnutrition: Eat a healthy, complete diet and consider taking a multivitamin.
Trauma: Wear eye protection if there is a risk of eye contact with fast-moving objects (hammer, saw, etc.).
Before consulting a doctor, if your vision has decayed, make an appointment in advance to see a doctor.