Cataracts are changes in the lens of the eye that adversely affect vision. The lens of the eye helps focus light rays on the retina. When the lens becomes cloudy, as it does when one ages, vision is impaired. It is the normal aging of the eye that is responsible for most cataracts. With age, dense, cloudy patches develop in the lens and robs the lens of its ability to focus clearly. The symptoms one encounters with cataracts are; blurred vision, double vision, impaired vision in bright light and poor color perception. Cataracts grow worse over time, but the rate of deterioration varies from person to person. Cataracts are easily diagnosed by an eye doctor. If the cataract is not advanced, the doctor may merely prescribe new glasses and schedule regular follow-up visits to monitor any changes. More advanced cataracts may be surgically removed. An intraocular implant or artificial lens is inserted, which serves the same function as a natural lens. Most cataract surgery does not requires a hospital stay, but weeks are needed before complete improvements in vision are realized. After the surgical removal of cataracts, 97 to 98 percent of patients experience significant improvement. Age is not a deterrent to having cataract surgery. People in their 90s safely undergo cataract surgery. It should be kept in mind that cataracts are not a threat to physical health, but they can eventually cause blindness, therefore, it is important to have a physician monitor their progress and initiate treatment at the appropriate time.
Things to do to avoid cataracts:
- limit your exposure to intense sunlight
- wear sunglasses on bright days
- wear eye protection if you are exposed to ultraviolet or infrared lamps
- control your diabetes
- take necessary precautions if you visit tanning studios