A cataract is a clouding of the eye's natural lens, which is normally clear and transparent. This clouding results in a gradual decrease in the clarity of vision. Cataracts can develop in one or both eyes and are a common age-related condition. They can also occur in infants or young children due to congenital factors, injury, or certain medical conditions.
The eye's lens plays a crucial role in focusing light onto the retina, allowing us to see objects clearly. When a cataract forms, it interferes with the passage of light to the retina, leading to vision problems. Cataracts can make objects appear blurry, hazy, or less colorful. Common symptoms of cataracts include:
- Blurred or dimmed vision: Vision may become progressively more cloudy or blurred over time.
- Glare sensitivity: Individuals with cataracts may experience increased sensitivity to light, especially when driving at night or in bright sunlight.
- Difficulty with night vision: Cataracts can make it more challenging to see clearly in low-light conditions.
- Frequent changes in prescription glasses or contact lenses: As cataracts develop, your prescription for corrective lenses may need to be adjusted more frequently.
Cataracts are usually associated with aging, but they can also be caused or accelerated by factors such as smoking, prolonged exposure to UV radiation, diabetes, eye injury, certain medications, or a family history of cataracts.
The primary treatment for cataracts is surgical removal. Cataract surgery is a safe and effective procedure in which the cloudy natural lens is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). This surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis and can significantly improve vision. Many people experience a rapid recovery and improved vision after cataract surgery. If you suspect you have cataracts or are experiencing changes in your vision, come and see the team at Rose Optometry for an examination and expert guidance.