Cataracts

Cataracts cause half of all cases of blindness and 33% of visual impairment worldwide.

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye which leads to a decrease in vision. Cataracts often develop slowly and can affect one or both eyes. The underlying mechanism involves accumulation of clumps of protein or yellow-brown pigment in the lens that reduces transmission of light to the retina at the back of the eye.

Symptoms

May include faded colours, blurry or double vision, halos around light, trouble with bright lights, and trouble seeing at night. This may result in trouble driving, reading, or recognizing faces.

Causes

Cataracts are most commonly due to aging but may also occur due to trauma or radiation exposure, be present from birth, infections, certain medications or occur following eye surgery for other problems.

Risk Factors

Include age, diabetes, smoking tobacco, prolonged exposure to sunlight, and alcohol.

Related issues:

Poor vision caused by cataracts may also result in an increased risk of falling and depression.

Treatment

  • Prevention includes wearing sunglasses and avoiding smoking
  • Early on symptoms may be improved with wearing glasses
  • If glasses do not improve the situation then surgery to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial lens is an effective treatment

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