What is a Cataract?
As you age, your body and your eyes change. While cataracts can develop at any age, the majority of people suffering from the symptoms of cataracts are 50 or older. In the beginning stages of cataracts, you may not notice any changes. Cataract symptoms can progress over time from mild haziness to difficulty making out major detail to loss of ability to see movement. It is important to monitor the progression of cataracts because left untreated, cataracts can cause blindness. In fact, 48% of the world’s blindness can be attributed to cataracts – or 18 million people, according to the World Health Organization.
Cataracts occur in the lens of your eye, which is made up of protein and water. A cataract happens when the protein in the lens of the eye clumps together and obstructs your vision. When light passes through the lens of your eye, it passes through this gathering of protein and you may notice a yellow tint or haze over everything you see. It’s almost as if you are permanently looking through waxed paper.
Even if your eye appears normal to someone looking at you, it almost always develops cataracts. It’s just a matter of when.
Studies show that cataracts affect:
- 42% of those between the ages of 52 and 64
- 60% of those between the ages of 65 and 74
- 91% of those between the ages of 75 and 85
Symptoms of a cataract:
- Blurred or cloudy vision
- Colors appear faded or dull
- Lamps such as headlights or streetlights have glare or halos; sunlight may appear too bright
- Poor night vision
- Double or multiple vision in one eye; this effect may disappear as the cataract grows
Important Note: These symptoms are not specific for cataract. Other potentially blinding diseases can cause similar symptoms. A complete eye exam is necessary to find the correct problem so that it can be treated properly. If you have any of these symptoms, please call today to make an appointment at Eye Clinic of Austin.
Other Factors in the Cause of Cataracts
Aging is one of the main factors of cataracts but it isn’t the only cause. There are several other conditions that may be the cause of cataracts:
- Long-term exposure to ultraviolet light
- Exposure to radiation
- Alcohol abuse
- Eye injuries
- Genetic factors (a parent or grandparent who had cataracts)
If you think you have cataracts, call us today to set up an appointment for an eye exam.