Cataracts will affect more than 50 percent of Americans by time they reach 80 years of age. Despite their prevalence, people know very little about them and what causes them. Cataracts are commonly characterized by clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which results in blurred vision. The only cure and treatment for cataracts is surgery. Cataract surgery is a very low risk procedure that has been performed on millions of individuals around the world and has a high safety and success rate. During the surgery, the intraocular lenses are removed and replaced with artificial ones.

What Causes Cataracts?

Cataracts form as a result of proteins clumping together in the eye lens. As these proteins grow, they begin to interfere with a person’s vision. Cataracts may happen in one eye or in both eyes, and are most commonly associated with age. Cataracts can also occur as a result of trauma to the eye, certain prescription medications, pollution in the environment, and lifestyle factors. For some people, cataracts are congenital. Thousands of doctors around the world, like Dr. Brian Davis from the Davis Vision Center, have successfully helped patients recover from cataracts and restore their vision.

Six Symptoms of Cataracts

The following are six symptoms that cataract sufferers experience:

1. Vision That Has Become Clouded, Blurred, or Diminished
2. Pain and Sensitivity to Light or Glare
3. A Hard Time Seeing at Night
4. Seeing Halos around Lights
5. Fading or Yellowing of Colors
6. Having Double Vision in Just One Eye

Problems with vision may only affect a small part of the eye first. A patient may be completely and totally unaware of any vision loss. However, as the cataract grows, vision problems will be easier to notice.

How Cataracts Are Formed

The human eye is made up of primarily protein and water. When protein cells separate in the eye, they will begin to drift to the eye lens that is behind the pupil. As a result of this, light that passes through the lens will not be focused properly on the retina, resulting in blurred vision. Cataracts are a progressive condition that get worse over time.

The human body is full of free radicals. These are oxidized molecules that attempt to stabilize themselves by stealing electrons from other molecules that are close by. This process is repeated over and over again in the body until the cycle affects a large group of cells. This process is referred to as oxidation, and when it occurs in the eyes, the result is cataracts.

Types of Cataracts

There are three different types of cataracts. They are distinguished from each other by where they are located on the lens.

Nuclear cataracts are the most common type. They form in the center of the lens and make it difficult for a person to see objects at a distance. They are associated with advanced age, take years to grow, and often change the color of the nucleus of the eye, giving an overall yellow tint.

Cortical cataracts form on the outside of the lens and start to work their way in. The eyes of individuals with this type of cataract usually resemble the spokes of a wheel. Symptoms include a halo effect around lights or glare. Suffers will complain of diminished near and far vision.

Subcapsular cataracts are the fastest-growing type of cataract. As opposed to nuclear cataracts that take years to develop, subcapsular cataracts can develop in a matter of months. This is most common in patients who have diabetes as well as patients who take certain steroid medications.

In addition to individuals who have cataracts as a result of age or trauma, there are many who are suffering with cataracts because it is a congenital defect.

Cataracts can destroy a person’s vision. For this reason, when a person sees the first signs of cataracts, they must take action and visit a medical professional who can advise them in the steps they need to take in order to restore their vision back to its pristine condition.

Author's Bio: 

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn't on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on twitter: @RachelleWilber