A cataract is a condition where the natural lens in the eye becomes cloudy and hard and is usually a part of normal aging process. If the blurred vision due to cataract is disturbing your daily lifestyle, the cataract may need to be removed.
To understand cataract, one has to visualize that an eye behaves like a camera with a transparent lens focusing light on the reel of the eye i.e. retina. The picture so formed on the retina is then sent to the brain via a nerve to complete the process of seeing. When this lens starts becoming opaque or white, the problem is labeled cataract. The condition happens when certain proteins in the lens form into abnormal clumps. These clumps gradually enlarge and interfere with vision by distorting or blocking the passage of light through the lens.
So when the lens is partially opaque, it is called an immature cataract and some light can pass through to help perform some routine functions. However, when the opacity increases to engulf the entire lens, vision is totally cut off and the cataract is called mature.
Causes of Cataract
Most forms of cataract develop in adult life. The normal process of ageing causes the lens to harden and become cloudy. This is called age-related cataract and it is the most common type. It can occur at any time after the age of 40.
Although most cataracts are age related, there are other types, including congenital (present at birth), drug induced (steroids), and traumatic (injury to the eye). Cataract is also more common in people who have certain diseases such as diabetes.
Treatments for cataract
Surgery is the only available treatment for cataract and is very effective, straight-forward and quick for the vast majority of patients. We advise patients to have surgery when their cataract progresses to the point that it is interfering with daily activities or lifestyle – but it is usually safe to delay surgery if you do not feel that you have a problem with your vision or do not wish to have surgery.