Cataracts: Symptoms and Treatments


How the Eyes See

Images pass through the surface of the eye in the form of light waves, that get forwarded by the lens to the retina. Here, photo receptors transform the waves into signals that are transferred to the optical center of the brain where a picture is formed.

What are cataracts?

A cataract is protein build-up on the lens of the eye that causes clouding. The film cover blocks or distorts light that needs to enter the eye. This common condition may not be detectable at first, but eventually, symptoms will develop. If left to worsen, vision problems and even legal blindness can result.

What are cataract symptoms?

Typically, cataracts do impair vision, but it can take time before noticeable symptoms develop. Signs of a cataract include blurry, cloudy or double vision. Color may appear faded or there may be a distinct glare around sources of light. Poor night vision, seeing dark spots and frequent prescription changes for corrective lenses are all common cataract symptoms.

Young children and infants who develop cataracts may squint a lot, or exhibit odd eye movements. Also, kids may have trouble seeing in bright light conditions or not respond to visual cues.

Why do cataracts develop?

The risk of developing cataracts increases every decade after age 40. It is a normal part of aging. More than 90 percent of older adults will develop the degenerative eye condition by the time they reach 65. Half of the population ages 75-85 experience some degree of vision loss because of cataracts.

Cataracts are known to result from such health conditions as diabetes, retinal detachment or eye injury. Some prescription medications can cause cataracts to develop, like statins, hormone replacement therapy, and steroids.

Cataract Surgery

The only way to remove cataracts is through surgery. This approach is highly effective and helps restore eyesight. However, it isn’t always necessary and can be postponed for quite some time. Many patients can function with cataracts with the aid of glasses, contact lenses or other visual supports. It all depends on the degree of vision impairment and whether it affects your ability to function.