A cataract occurs when the natural lens inside the eye becomes cloudy. This condition is part of the natural aging process. Most cataracts form gradually, however, they can progress at different rates for everyone, depending on the type and other risk factors involved. Smoking and ultraviolet exposure can increase a person’s risk for developing cataracts earlier. Certain medical conditions, like diabetes, and even some medications can also contribute to the formation of cataracts. Ocular surgeries and ocular injuries may increase the risk for developing this condition as well.
A person with cataracts may experience blurry, foggy or hazy vision. In addition, symptoms may include light sensitivity and starbursts around lights. Cataracts can also cause one’s vision to appear dim and less colorful. Cataracts are a leading cause of vision loss, and if left untreated can lead to legal blindness or even total blindness. Treatment is through cataract surgery. Typically, a new, clear lens is placed inside the eye after the cataract is removed. An eye care provider can detect and recommend the best time at which surgery may be beneficial for the patient. Cataracts can be detected during a comprehensive dilated eye exam by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist, which is recommended once every year.
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Here are some additional resources for this condition:
American Optometric Association- https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/cataract
American Academy of Ophthalmology- https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-are-cataracts
National Eye Institute- https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/cataracts
Prevent Blindness- https://www.preventblindness.org/cataract