Facts and myths related to cataract

Are you over 40 years of age? Do you have a blurry vision? Have you noticed a white film on your eyeball as you look into the mirror? If you have, then it is a cataract. It is an eye condition that forms a white, cloudy layer in your lens, which makes your vision blurry. However, it is not something uncommon or extremely dangerous that is beyond any treatment. When you cross the age of 40, you are more likely to get a cataract.

During this condition, you feel like you are looking through a foggy window. This is because of the cloudiness of your normal lens that makes your vision hazy and indistinct. You feel difficulty in reading, writing, or driving. You may even struggle to figure out the expression on your friend’s face, sitting right in front of you.

In the initial stages when cataract affects your eye, you immediately do not have blurry visions. However, eventually, the disorder will take over your vision with time. You may use eyeglasses or bright lighting to fight cataract in the first few months. As your vision starts getting compromised, you need to switch to surgical options for permanent cure. Do not worry about cataract surgeries. They are absolutely safe and effective.

What are the possible symptoms?

  1. Dim, clouded or blurred vision
  2. Seeing halos or circles around flares and lights
  3. Double vision in one eye
  4. Difficulty in visualizing things at night that keeps getting stronger with time
  5. Repeated alterations in your prescription regarding ‘power’ of contact lenses or eyeglasses
  6. Becoming highly sensitive to light or glare
  7. Visualizing everything as yellowish or fading of other colors
  8. Problem with reading or working under insufficient light or normal light intensity. Requiring brighter light than usual for clearer vision
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The cloudiness in your eye lens does not happen all of a sudden, affecting the entire circumference of the lens. It will start from one corner of your lens, and then gradually spread to your entire eyeball. Your vision is compromised according to the degree of cloudiness forming on your lens with time. If you come across any of these symptoms, immediately go to an ophthalmologist for suggestions. As you delay with the detection, you may end up with the permanent loss of vision.

When does cataract form?

A cataract is an age-related eye disorder that generally attacks your eye lens as you cross the age of 40. The very usual causes behind cataract formation are either your age or any sort of eye injury. There may be genetic factors as well behind your cataract development. It is not always necessary that you will have cataract as your age crosses 40. Genetic predisposition to cataract can be a potential cause, as to why you are having it. Sometimes if you are taking steroid medicines, you may develop the chance of cataract. Other factors such as diabetes or previous eye surgeries (if any), may also contribute to this disorder.

Risk factors that increase cataract chances:

  • Smoking
  • Overexposure to sunlight
  • Long term use of corticosteroid medicines
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Obesity
  • Elevated blood pressure levels
  • Inflammation of eye

Classes of cataract:

  1. Nuclear cataract

This particular kind of cataract affects the central part of your eye lens. Initially, it may result in myopia or near-sightedness, or improve your reading vision in a certain way temporarily. However, with time, your lens will start getting densely yellowish and make your vision hazier. As cataract gradually progresses, your lens will become brown from yellow. This will make you even more difficult to differentiate between color shades after a point of time.

  1. Cortical cataract

This type of cataract affects the borders of your eye lens. It starts off with the formation of wedge-shaped, white opaque streaks appearing on the external edge of your lens cortex. Gradually these streaks proceed towards the center of the lens and hinder with the pathway of light passing through your lens.

  1. Posterior sub-capsular cataracts

This kind of cataract harms the back side of your lens. It starts with the formation of an opaque, small area behind your eye lens. This interference falls exactly in the direction of light, entering and exiting your eye. In this condition, you face difficulty in reading. You may start seeing halos in glares and also experience reduced vision under bright light.

  1. Congenital cataract

It is exclusively a birth defect, which means you are born with this problem due to genetic predisposition. You may either have this disorder right after you are born, or develop it in the course of growing up. It is primarily due to genetic factors, but you may also develop it because of any trauma or intrauterine infection. Other associated factors behind its cause may include- rubella, galactosemia, neurofibromatosis type 2 or muscle dystrophy.

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What are the myths associated with cataract?

  1. Eye drops dissolve or prevent cataract

Absolutely not. The FDA has not approved any such eye drops that can possibly delay or cure cataract.

  1. You can reverse cataract

Again not true. It is an age-related eye disorder that you cannot avoid but absolutely can treat through surgeries. The cloudiness of your lens naturally happens with age, so there is no avoiding that. However, you may definitely slow it down by altering a few lifestyle choices. Wear sunglasses under extreme UV exposure quit smoking and eat a healthy diet.

  1. Close-up works such as sewing or reading can worsen cataract

A big misconception. You do not get cataract according to the way you use your eyes. However, you are most likely to notice cataract issues while sewing or reading as it becomes difficult with time.

  1. Cataract can grow back

That is not how cataract works. A cataract is the accumulation of dead cells in your eye lens that gives you a cloudy vision. It is not some kind of cell growth that obstructs your vision. You can easily remove the cataract with laser eye surgeries and other procedures.

Do not get scared with the name of surgeries. It is barely a 20 minutes surgery that can get rid of your cataract, with all safety.


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