The eyes are amazing organs that utilize various parts working in conjunction with one another. When working correctly, eyes enable crisp vision and process a vast array of vivid hues. When the eyes are compromised by illness or other conditions, various impairments may be the culprit.
Cataracts often affect aging individuals. The American Academy of Ophthalmology® says a cataract forms when the natural lens in the eye, which is responsible for refracting light rays that come in the eye to help a person see, becomes cloudy. As a result, vision can be compromised and seem like a person is looking through a foggy or dirty car windshield, says the AAO.
The National Eye Institute advises that cataracts are common as people get older. More than half of Americans age 80 years or older either have cataracts or have had surgery to remove cataracts. Cataracts may initially produce mild symptoms of blurry or hazy vision, or surroundings may seem less colorful. Over time, cataracts can lead to vision loss if not treated. The following are some common symptoms of cataracts:
• Cloudy or blurry vision that still occurs despite the usage of corrective prescription glasses or contact lenses
• Colors look faded
• Compromised night vision
• Halos appearing around lights
• Oncoming headlights, lamps, or
sunlight seem too bright
• Double vision
• Frequent changes to visit prescriptions
Researchers have identified certain things that may contribute to the changes that occur in the lenses that lead to the formation of cataracts. Exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun or other sources is a main risk factor. Diabetes, hypertension, obesity, smoking, prolonged use of corticosteroid medications, and other factors come into play as well.
All About Vision says cataracts can be broken down into various types, and some are much more common than others.
• Nuclear: These cataracts are the most common and form in the center of the lens, gradually worsening.
• Cortical: Cortical cataracts generally start as spoke-like opaque areas at the edges of the lens that grow inward. They tend to be responsible for more night glare.
• Congenital: Some people are born with cataracts.
• Trauma-induced: These cataracts form anywhere and often develop into a rosette shape.
• Post subcapsular cataracts: Initially developing at the central back surface of the lens, these cataracts often develop faster than other types. Vision around bright light and colors is affected.
Eye doctors generally diagnose cataracts during dilated eye exams. The NEI says anyone age 60 or older should get dilated eye exams every one to two years. Surgery may be recommended only at the point when cataracts start to severely interfere with daily activities. Until then, people can mitigate cataracts by updating eyeglass prescriptions, turning lights up when possible and wearing anti-glare sunglasses.
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