What is a Cataract?
The term cataract refers to clouding of the lens of the eye. The lens is an important structure located behind the colored part of the eye (the iris). The function of the lens is to focus light on the retina.
As we age, the normally transparent lens gets cloudy, forming a cataract. A cloudy lens cannot focus light as clearly on the retina, resulting in a blurred image.
Symptoms of Cataracts
Cataracts most commonly cause blurred vision. They can also cause decreased contrast and dull color vision. Often, cataracts will cause glare, especially noticed when driving at night. Sometimes cataracts can cause a shift in the glasses need, making a patient more nearsighted.
Causes of Cataracts
Cataracts are most commonly a result of aging. Certain medical conditions and medications can accelerate cataracts, including diabetes and steroid medications. UV light worsens cataracts. Cataracts can be caused by trauma as well. Sometimes cataracts have a hereditary component.
Treatment of Cataracts
Not all cataracts need to be removed! It is common for a comprehensive eye exam to reveal early cataracts which are not yet visually significant. Until the cataract begins to affect the vision, it usually can be monitored. However, once the cataract negatively affects the vision, the only way to improve it is with cataract surgery.
For more on our treatment of Cataracts click the articles below.