What Is A Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding in the lens of the eye. This lens lies behind the iris (the coloured part of the eye) and the pupil (the black centre of the eye). Its job is to focus light that passes through the eye in order to deliver a clear, sharp image to the retina.
In a normal or young eye, this lens is clear.
Cataracts can affect one or both eyes and can lead to blindness. In fact, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness across the globe.
A sufferer of cataracts may experience clouded vision, like trying to see through a foggy window, and eventually can develop total vision loss.
The images below show what a cataract can look like through a dilated pupil:
What Causes Cataracts?
Cataracts can form as a result of:
Symptoms of Cataracts
A cataract begins as a small spot of cloudiness and increases over time. It may not have any effect on your vision at first, but eventually if left unchecked it can begin to have an impact on your eyesight.
If you have a cataract, you may experience these symptoms in one or both eyes:
How Do Cataracts Form?
The lens inside the eye is comprised of proteins. As we age, these proteins may clump together, thicken and lose flexibility. This results in the cloudiness in the eye lens that typifies a cataract.
As time progresses, the cataract grows and the cloudiness spreads. Instead of nice, sharply focused images reaching the retina, the light is now blocked and scattered, resulting in blurred vision.
We don’t know for sure why the proteins in the eye lens break down and clump together. But there are some preventative measures you can take to protect your eyes from developing cataracts.
Prevention Of Cataracts
There is NO conclusive scientific evidence to prove that cataracts can be prevented. However, these measures are thought to protect eyes against the progression of cataracts:
Treatment Of Cataracts
When a cataract is still small, the impact on your vision and quality of life may be managed by a new or updated glasses or contact lens prescription, bifocals, changes in lighting according to your needs, and wearing sunglasses with UV protection.
If your cataract has advanced to the point where it has a notable impact on your vision and quality of life, you may need to consider cataract surgery.
Thankfully, cataract surgery is very successful in restoring vision for most people. Read the RANZCO information leaflet on cataract surgery.
Without surgery, once a lens becomes cloudy, it will not regain its functionality. Only surgery can restore loss of vision from cataracts. Your Ophthalmologist will assess your vision and advise you on the best approach for you.
Only Beamers Sunglasses have Optoshield® Technology, a four-pronged system for the best eye protection. Learn more about the Ophthalmologists who created Beamers.