A cataract is an opacity or cloudiness of the eye’s natural lens. Located behind the coloured iris, the lens is responsible for focusing light and producing a clear image on the retina at the back of the eye. When the lens develops opacity, light cannot pass to the retina and the resulting image appears blurred or ‘cloudy’. Compare a clear glass window to a smoky opaque bathroom window that lets in light but does not allow a clear view, and this is somewhat like the change the lens undergoes when a cataract develops.
Cataracts are a natural part of ageing and are the leading cause of vision loss among adults 55 and older. They can also exist at birth (congenital cataract); be caused by an injury (traumatic cataract); some medications (such as prednisolone); or be caused by conditions like diabetes or severe glaucoma. The vast majority of people with cataracts are extremely healthy and have no other eye disease . Cataracts usually develop in both eyes, although not always at the same rate. Their rate of development will vary from person to person, but generally develop slowly over a period of time. Occasionally the effect on vision, however, can be faster, occurring over a period of several weeks.
You will notice cataracts in different ways depending upon what your normal activities are. As your cataract develops, you may notice any of the following:
- deterioration of your distance and reading vision
- the vision may seem dull and colours appear less bright
- sensitivity to light
- glare intolerance (especially at night)
- double vision or halos around lights
- becoming more myopic (short-sighted)
For more information about cataract and it’s treatment please click on the link below: Cataract – Patient Information 2013