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Cataract Awareness Month

examining-eye

What is a Cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the clear lens that filters light in your eye. Cataracts can interfere with your vision and can slowly develop over time or can enlarge quite suddenly. Cataracts are often diagnosed on routine eye exams, but sudden changes in vision should be reported to an eye doctor.

Symptoms of a Cataract

Signs and symptoms of cataracts can vary depending on the size of the cataract and how far advanced at is. Some of the most common symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Blurry or clouded vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Problems with glares
  • Frequent eyeglass and contact lens prescription changes
  • Clouding of the middle part of the eye
  • Halo effect when looking at lights
  • Double vision in only one eye
  • Needing increased light to do activities such as reading, sewing, or puzzles

A cataract may start as a small spot of blurry vision in your eye and get noticeably worse as time goes on. Regular check-ups with your doctor will help to track the development of the cataract and come up with a proper treatment plan.

What Causes Cataracts?

While cataracts typically develop as you age, there are other issues that can lead to cataracts. Injuries to your eye or surgical procedures can damage the lens of your eye leading to cataracts later in life. Genetics and long-term medical conditions such as diabetes also increase your risk of developing cataracts.

Types of Cataracts

There are four different types of cataracts that you may be diagnosed with. These usually differ by how they develop as well as their location.

  •      Nuclear Cataracts

A nuclear cataract usually begins with a disturbance in your near-sighted vision. As the cataract develops, it will become yellow and more cloudy before becoming brown and will eventually cause a disturbance in both close and far vision.

  • Cortical Cataracts

Cortical cataracts will begin as white streaks throughout the lens that will eventually spread to the middle, causing more vision disturbance as more light is blocked.

  • Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts

This type of cataract typically starts a small opaque area towards the back part of the lens that sits directly in the pathway of the light trying to come through. Posterior subcapsular cataracts will often spread quicker than most and tend to affect reading vision and vision in bright lights. It often creates halos and glare issues.

  • Congenital Cataracts

Congenital cataracts are ones that a child is born with or they develop sometime during their childhood. This can often be the result of genetics, infection in the uterus, trauma, or medical conditions such as rubella or myotonic dystrophy.

Cataract Surgery

If your cataracts begin to interfere with your ability to read, drive, or perform routine daily activities, cataract surgery may be the best option for you. During the cataract surgery, the doctor will remove your clouded lens and replace it with a new clear lens that will significantly improve your vision.

Cataract surgery is very safe and is an outpatient procedure that does not require a hospital stay. Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits or surgery with you if it is the recommended course of action.

While cataracts can cause significant problems with everyday life, they are most often treatable with surgery. If you have any vision disturbance or think that you may have a cataract, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.

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Understanding Cataract

examining-eye

Image is from Medical News Today

What is a Cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the clear lens that filters light in your eye. Cataracts can interfere with your vision and can slowly develop over time or can enlarge quite suddenly. Cataracts are often diagnosed on routine eye exams, but sudden changes in vision should be reported to an eye doctor.

Symptoms of a Cataract

Signs and symptoms of cataracts can vary depending on the size of the cataract and how far advanced at is. Some of the most common symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Blurry or clouded vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Problems with glares
  • Frequent eyeglass and contact lens prescription changes
  • Clouding of the middle part of the eye
  • Halo effect when looking at lights
  • Double vision in only one eye
  • Needing increased light to do activities such as reading, sewing, or puzzles

A cataract may start as a small spot of blurry vision in your eye and get noticeably worse as time goes on. Regular check-ups with your doctor will help to track the development of the cataract and come up with a proper treatment plan.

What Causes Cataracts?

While cataracts typically develop as you age, there are other issues that can lead to cataracts. Injuries to your eye or surgical procedures can damage the lens of your eye leading to cataracts later in life. Genetics and long-term medical conditions such as diabetes also increase your risk of developing cataracts.

Types of Cataracts

There are four different types of cataracts that you may be diagnosed with. These usually differ by how they develop as well as their location.

Nuclear Cataracts

A nuclear cataract usually begins with a disturbance in your near-sighted vision. As the cataract develops, it will become yellow and more cloudy before becoming brown and will eventually cause a disturbance in both close and far vision.

Cortical Cataracts

Cortical cataracts will begin as white streaks throughout the lens that will eventually spread to the middle, causing more vision disturbance as more light is blocked.

Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts

This type of cataract typically starts a small opaque area towards the back part of the lens that sits directly in the pathway of the light trying to come through. Posterior subcapsular cataracts will often spread quicker than most and tend to affect reading vision and vision in bright lights. It often creates halos and glare issues.

Congenital Cataracts

Congenital cataracts are ones that a child is born with or they develop sometime during their childhood. This can often be the result of genetics, infection in the uterus, trauma, or medical conditions such as rubella or myotonic dystrophy.

Cataract Surgery

If your cataracts begin to interfere with your ability to read, drive, or perform routine daily activities, cataract surgery may be the best option for you. During the cataract surgery, the doctor will remove your clouded lens and replace it with a new clear lens that will significantly improve your vision.

Cataract surgery is very safe and is an outpatient procedure that does not require a hospital stay. Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits or surgery with you if it is the recommended course of action.

While cataracts can cause significant problems with everyday life, they are most often treatable with surgery. If you have any vision disturbance or think that you may have a cataract, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.

 

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How Important are Your Eyes?

Image is from Think About Your Eyes

Although we at times take it for granted, seeing is undoubtedly one of the most important functions of the human body. The role played by your eyes cannot be underestimated at all since the eyes are helpful in almost all the aspects of your life. In many cases, the eyes have been referred to as the camera of the body. They have been likened to a camera for reasons such as:

  • Both devices perceive images
  • After gathering light, they both focus and transmit it through the lens
  • Both help in creation of images of the surrounding environment

Taking care of your eyes begins with knowing how important they are and the specific functions they have. Below is an outline of the importance of your eyes.

  • Color and Image Perception

As a sense organ, the eyes help in distinguishing different images and colors. The eye’s retina is a part that contains millions of light-sensing neurons called cones and rods. They are responsible for the perception of color details after which they convert the light into electrical impulses. The converted impulses are then sent to the brain for interpretation. The eyes give the vision needed for activities such as driving, reading and making decisions when you are required to choose from various things.

  • Production of Tears

Many people think that tears are only useful when they need to express their emotions like when they are happy or sad. Tears, however, have many other functions such as nourishment of the eyes, vision maintenance, washing away debris and lubrication. Your eyes have a tear system that involves three parts: the glands that form tears, the openings through which tears flow from the eyes and ducts that drain tears into the nose. The eyes are therefore very essential to the production of tears.

  • Keeping us safe

Sight is essential for safety and self-preservation. Life is full of dangerous obstacles, and the eyes help us avoid them. It would be very dangerous to walk around or do different things without the eyes. They are therefore very instrumental in ensuring your safety and provide awareness of any danger within our environment.

  • Connecting with the surrounding

You would never get to connect with the many things that happen in the immediate surroundings. Even if you hear about them, it would not be as good as it would be if you witnessed them occurring. Your eyes give you the ability to perceive movements as well as assess the intentions for different forms of motion. Eyes help in bringing out the beauty of the world around us. Most of our preferences depend on what we see. We like the things which are more appealing to our eyes.

  • Sensing

Other than perceiving images, your eyes help in sensing. There are times when one of your senses could be missing. When you have a cold, for instance, you tend to lose the sense of taste and smell. It, therefore, becomes very different to detect rotten foodstuffs which upon consuming would cause digestion problems. In such a scenario, the eyes take over this work. The only way to distinguish what is edible from the inedible would be by carefully scrutinizing the foodstuffs to identify traces of molds or any other indication of food spoilage.

Due to this, it is important to take care of your eyes. The best way of looking after your eyes is by visiting an optician regularly to get checked. Through this it will be easy to detect any issues and correct them before it is too late, maintaining your quality of life.

 

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