Cataracts are caused by protein buildup over the lens of your eye that limits light from passing through. The result is cloudy or filmy vision. If you are over the age of 60, you are more likely to develop cataracts. In addition to age related cataracts, there are congenital, secondary, and traumatic cataracts.
Types of cataracts
Sometimes a severe injury to the eye can form cataracts that are the result of trauma. Secondary cataracts are due to other medical challenges, such as diabetes. This type of cataract can also develop due to exposure to dangerous chemicals, ultraviolet light, radiation, or medications like corticosteroids. Babies can be born with congenital cataracts due to infection, injury or development problems in the womb. Cataracts can also form later in childhood. Age related cataracts can result as the body ages. Excessive drinking, air pollution, and cigarette smoke can also cause cataracts.
Cataracts typically form slowly. In fact, you may not realize you have cataracts until you begin to notice light being blocked. You may also have blurry, foggy, filmy, or cloudy vision. Nearsightedness in older individuals is also a common symptom. Problems with night driving, changes in the way you can perceive color, challenges with glare during the day, double vision, and issues with contact lenses or glasses are also typical signs of cataracts.
Diagnosis and treatment for cataracts
Regular vision exams are recommend to maintain healthy eyesight. During these visits, your eye doctor can determine if you are beginning to develop any vision problems, like cataracts. Part of your eye assessment will include having your pupils dilated so the doctor can check the lens and other areas of your eyes. If your vision cannot be improved using glasses or contacts, and cataracts affect your day to day activities, cataract surgery may be necessary. Cataract surgery has an excellent success rate and is a common outpatient procedure. Over 95% of people who have had cataract surgery report improved vision afterward.