Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei
New Delhi: A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye. It can occur in either both eyes, but cannot spread from one eye to the other.
Cataracts are mostly due to aging process, and are the most common cause of vision loss in older people. It is said that cataracts cause more vision problem worldwide than any other eye condition or disease.
Here are five facts about cataracts:
What is the lens?
The lens is the clear part of the eye behind the iris that helps to focus light on the retina. It helps to focus on both far and near objects so that they are perceived clearly and sharply.
What causes cataracts?
While age is the most common cause of cataracts, environmental factors such as radiation, toxins, and ultraviolet light can put you at an increased risk. Also, some cataracts are congenital and babies are occasionally born with them.
Risk factors include:
- Family history of cataracts
- Previous eye injury/surgery/inflammation
- Long-term exposure to bright sunlight
- Tobacco use
Usually, cataracts show few symptoms until they are at an advanced stage. Symptoms include:
- Decrease in clarity of vision/blurry vision
- Glare – vision becomes worse when light is very bright
- Difficulty with vision at night
- Frequent changes in eye glasses
- Double vision or multiple images in one eye.
Can cataracts be prevented?
While there is no proven method of preventing cataracts, doctors believe that several strategies may be helpful. These include:
- Following a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Not smoking
- Limit alcohol intake
- Avoiding excessive exposure to UV light or wearing UV-blocking sunglasses whenever you step out in the sun
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- People with a history of eye problems or other medical conditions that increase the risk of eye disease should get regular eye examinations