The eye functions similar to a camera and like the lens of a camera, if the lens of your eye is blurred, the picture produced has a lesser quality. The clouding of the lens is called a cataract and affects more than half of all Americans age 65 and older. Cataracts occur when a buildup of protein in the lens makes it cloudy, which prevents light from passing clearly through the lens and causes a loss of vision. When new lens cells form on the outside of the lens, it forces all older cells to the center of the lens which causes the cataract.
Types of Cataracts
There are many different kinds of cataracts. The types are as follows:
Age-Related Cataracts develop as a result of aging when protein builds up in the lens and causes lends cloudiness or discoloration.
Traumatic Cataracts form after an eye injury.
Radiation Cataracts form after severe radiation exposure.
Secondary Cataracts develop as a result of diabetes, exposure to toxic substances, certian drugs, ultraviolet lights, radiation or after surgery for other eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma.
Nuclear Cataracts form in the center of the eyes.
Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts develop in the back of the lens.
Congenital Cataracts are present at birth due to birth defects, diseases or other problems.
Cataract symptoms differ for each person and depend on the type of cataract; however, some common symptoms are blurred, cloudy, foggy, or filmy vision, significant glare from car headlights, dull or yellow tinted colors, double vision, and excessive bright overhead lighting.
There is no proven method of preventing cataracts since the exact cause of cataracts has not been determined. Be sure to have your eyes examined on a regular basis to stay informed about your eye health.
If you think you have developed a cataract, schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist for an eye exam. Don’t be alarmed if you are diagnosed with cataracts because there are many treatment options that you and your physician can discuss to find the right fit for you. Vision can be corrected to an acceptable level with a change in your eyeglass or contact prescription. If your vision loss cannot be corrected with glasses and the cataracts will affect your daily life, you might be a candidate for cataract surgery. During cataract surgery, the clouded lens is removed and is replaced by an artificial clear lens. This surgery is usually conducted as an outpatient procedure and have proven to very successfully restore vision.
To schedule an appointment with a UAB Medical West Ophthalmologist, please call our physician referral line at 205.996.WEST.