A cataract is best be described a clouding that develops in the crystalline lens of the eye that varies from slight to complete opacity that obstructs the passage of light. Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 40 and is the principal cause of blindness across the world.

There are three different types of cataracts including subcapsular, which occurs at the back of the lens. Those at risk for developing this type are diabetics, far-sightedness or retinitis pigmentosa. People who take high doses of steroid medications are also at a greater risk. A nuclear cataract forms deep inside the nucleus area of the lens, and are specifically associated with aging. A cortical cataract shows white, wedge-like opacities that begin at the periphery of the lens and work their way to the centre like the spokes of a wheel.

It’s not entirely clear why the eye’s lens changes as we age to form cataracts, but researchers have identified factors that may cause or increase the risk of cataracts. One suggestion is that as we age, some of the protein that makes up the lens clumps together and causes a cloud to form in areas of the lens. Typically the protein in our eyes is arranged in such a way as to keep the lens clear in order to let the light pass through.

Other risk factors that might cause cataracts include exposure to ultraviolet rays, other types of radiation, diabetes and users of steroids, diuretics and major tranquilizers. Toxins like cigarette smoke, air pollution and heavy alcohol consumption also pose a risk. Some health and eye care practitioners recommend a diet high in antioxidants like beta-carotene, selenium and vitamins C and E, which may help to delay cataract development.

Vision can be improved with cataracts in the early stages by simply improving your vision with new glasses, strong bifocals, magnification, appropriate lighting or other visual aids. When they have professed far enough that they seriously impair your vision then it would be a could idea to start thinking about surgery. Surgery for cataracts is very successful in restoring vision. Nine out of ten people who have cataract surgery regain very good vision, somewhere between 20/20 and 20/40.

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