Many people are familiar with the cloudy appearance of an eye affected by a cataract, but the underlying causes of this condition and proper treatments are not as well known. First, it is important to know what a cataract is. A cataract is the clouding of the lens, which is located behind the iris, or colored part of your eye. With the presence of a cataract often comes decreased vision capabilities. Though they often develop slowly and with little impact on your vision at first, cataracts are a progressive condition that can become increasingly impairing over time.
Cataracts are common in the elderly, with close to eighteen million elderly worldwide affected by cataracts and with age related-cataracts accounting for nearly half of all the cases of blindness in the world. It is important to note that cataracts are not exclusive to the elderly population and it is a condition that can affect a person at any age. While cataracts affect the eye, they are just one component of a personâ€™s over all physical health. Non-optical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes can spur the development of a cataract. Environmental factors that can promote the development of cataracts include continuous exposure to ultra-violet light, radiation exposure, eye trauma, and genetic factors.
There are a number of symptoms associated with the onset of a cataract. The primary symptom of a cataract is vision loss or double vision, especially at night; and what is commonly referred to as a “halo effect” around street lights. Superficially, a thin, cloudy veil can be noticed over the affected eye. If any of these symptoms are experienced, or if you suspect you are experiencing a cataract, it is imperative to visit your physician. Solutions to cataracts range from vision correcting lenses to manage sight to surgical removal of the cataract.