In the eye, the natural crystalline lens focuses light rays on the retina to produce an image. At birth, the lens is clear. With time, the lens starts to get cloudy and obstruct light. This cloudy lens is known as a cataract and can diminish vision.
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens. When the lens becomes cloudy, it interferes with the passage of light through the eye, resulting in a decrease in vision. The lens of the eye is similar to the lens of a camera. When the camera lens is not working properly you get a blurry photograph. When the lens of the eye becomes cloudy your vision decreases and things appear blurry.
What is a cataract?
Most cataracts are related to the natural ageing of the eye. However, other factors can be involved. Some diseases, such as diabetes or glaucoma, or the use of certain medications, such as steroids, are thought to increase the chance of a cataract occurring. Often, a cataract only covers a small part of the lens; if sight is not greatly impaired there is no need to remove the cataract. However, if a large portion of the lens becomes cloudy, sight can be partially or completely lost until the cataract is removed.
Who can have a cataract?
Cataracts can occur at any age. Most cataracts occur in people who are 60 years of age or older, although a smaller number of people develop cataracts between the ages of 45 and 60. Some cataracts occur in children at birth due to genetic disorders or if the mother had rubella (German measles). Cataracts due to injury can occur at any age.
Symptoms of cataracts
If you have cataracts you may not realize it right away. Vision loss may be gradual, painless and hard to detect until significant loss has occurred. Depending on the nature and cause, a cataract can develop rapidly over a few months or slowly over many years. In older people, it is not unusual for cataracts to develop in both eyes but most of the time the cataract develops in only one eye at a time.
Some of the more common symptoms of cataracts include:
Fading or yellowing of colours
Poor night vision
Double vision in one eye
Halos around lights
People with a cataract in only one eye may notice a loss of depth perception;this can cause problems in judging where stairs are and determining the distance of cars driving in front of them.
Laser in cataract render accurate correction for vision. Laser in cataract also is a leading reasons why cataract surgeons are excited about their potential, due to the automation these lasers can provide – in creating the capsulorhexis and in pre-chopping the nucleus, reducing the overall energy needed to remove the cataract.