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A Discussion on Cataracts

Wed 11th Mar 2009 - 5:00 pm - Back to Article Selection

A cataract is a clouding of the clear lens of the eye which produces a slow decline in vision quality. The lens is the part of the eye that angles light rays onto the retina which enables the transmission of images to your brain for viewing and comprehension. The lens is composed of proteins and water which, through the natural aging process that all humans experience, sometimes become "clumped together" and are unable to be processed through normal biological functions. As these "clumps" of protein begin to cloud the lens, they often go undetected at first and then gradually progress to clouding larger areas of the eye until there is a noticeable change in vision. To illustrate this concept, imagine smearing grease on the lens of a camera and attempting to look through it or trying to peer out a frosty window; this is what an individual with a cataract might experience with their sight.

According to Wilmer Eye Institute at John Hopkins Medicine, cataracts have been the most common cause of blindness in the world. In the United States, research studies have shown that people over the age of 60 demonstrate an increasing risk to having cataracts, as a result of the normal aging process.

While most cataracts generally do not cause pain, they do, however, make it significantly more difficult for a person to drive, see at night or discern emotions on a loved one's face. Other persons might experience double vision in one or both eyes; sensitivity to bright light or glares; fading or yellowish colors and frequent changes in contact lens or eyeglass prescriptions.

As medicine and treatment for cataracts continue to advance, individuals have access to a variety of options, including surgery. Although some persons do report better vision with stronger eyeglasses or stronger lighting, surgery is considered the only way to cure cataracts. This is the quickest and most effective method to restoring one's sight. During surgery, once the lens is removed or broken up, it is replaced with a plastic lens that's inserted into the eye during cataract surgery; a contact lens; or a special type of eyeglasses with very intense magnification.

If you're experiencing symptoms such as blurry or clouded vision, it is extremely important that you talk to your doctor right away. If you're over age 40, it's also important to schedule regular eye exams with your doctor, even if you haven't noticed any change in your vision. It's also best to learn as much as you can about the disease so that when the time comes to make important decisions regarding treatment, you are fully informed and prepared.

Disclaimer: The author is not a medical doctor, optician, ophthalmologist or any other medical professional, this article has been compiled using a variety of internet reference sources and while every effort has been made to ensure accuracy this cannot be guaranteed. No preference for product or brand is inferred or intended and the contents of this article are not to be used in whole or in part to inform a decision regarding any aspect of contact lens use.

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