The shape of the eye is very distinctive. However, for many people, the lens of their eye clouds over.
These are known as cataracts and they damage the vision of the people affected. People with cataracts get cloudy vision that can seem like they are looking through a cloudy surface or frosted window. There’s a level of vision, but it’s becoming slightly opaque.
Cataracts develop over a slow period of time. It may seem odd that they can sneak up on people. The changes in vision happen so gradually that many people don’t even realize they are happening. Cataracts can develop for a long period of time before they even cause the vision problems. There are ways to treat and handle cataracts as long as you know the symptoms and can get involved in treating them early.
Causes of Cataracts
The main cause of cataracts is aging. People’s eyes deteriorate over time and the cataract ends up growing throughout the lens tissue. The other main cause is due to an injury to the eye. In some fashion the lens tissue becomes damaged or destroyed allowing the cataract to come.
The cataracts that form actually are the lens tissue clumping together into a small area, but then becomes denser over time. It keeps gathering in more of the lens tissue. This results in the light scattering or being blocked by the cataract.
There’s actually several types of cataracts that can be caused. Nuclear cataracts affect the center of a person’s lens. The Cortical cataracts happen around the edges. Posterior subcapsular cataracts occur in the back of the lens. In some cases, people are born with cataracts. These congenital cataracts can be there immediately, or develop during early childhood.
Symptoms of Cataracts
There are several symptoms of cataracts that you might feel as they are coming on. Symptoms don’t always start initially and it takes a certain level of development in the cataract. As mentioned, early stages, the vision loss may be difficult to see due to the gradual nature of it changing. Some of the more obvious symptoms include:
- Difficulty with night driving or seeing things in the dark.
- A sense of cloudy or blurred vision. It can also seem like it’s getting slightly darker or dimmer.
- An increased sensitivity to moments of glare or bright lights.
- Having to turn on more (or more powerful) lighting to perform actions like cooking or reading.
- Seeing a halo ring around a light when looking directly at it.
- Getting double vision when looking through a single eye.
- Having colors become less crisp or yellowing.
- Needing to get repeat changes to vision prescriptions without obvious other reasons.
Treatment of Cataracts
In the early or light stages of cataracts, glasses can be used to correct and help vision. When things get worse, the only recourse however is surgery. The good news about cataract surgery is that it’s a very safe surgery which can really improve a person’s quality of life. Since cataracts usually don’t harm the eye directly, there’s no need to rush into surgery if a person is feeling uncomfortable.
People who have cataract surgery remove the entire clouded lens. In turn, an artificial lens is positioned where the original lens was. This simply becomes a permanent part of the eye. There are some occasions when the person isn’t able to use a lens, in which case, the cataract is removed, but then glasses will be necessary to keep vision as good as possible.
Recovery from cataract surgery usually takes about eight weeks. It’s important to note this for people who have cataracts in both eyes. Surgery for each will need to be spread apart so that the patient having surgery doesn’t find themselves vision deficient in both eyes at the same time.