What causes cataracts?
The most common cause of cataracts is aging. As we age, the proteins in the lens of the eye start to break down and clump together. This clumping can cause the lens to become cloudy.
Other factors that can increase your risk of developing cataracts include:
- High blood pressure
- Long-term use of steroids
- Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light
- Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease
Types of cataracts
There are three main types of cataracts:
- Nuclear cataracts: These are the most common type of cataract. They occur when the proteins in the center of the lens clump together.
- Cortical cataracts: These cataracts occur when the proteins in the outer part of the lens clump together.
- Posterior subcapsular cataracts: These cataracts occur when the proteins in the back of the lens clump together.
Symptoms of cataracts
The most common symptoms of cataracts include:
- Blurred vision
- Decreased contrast sensitivity
- Increased glare and halos
- Difficulty driving at night
- Double vision
- Fading of colors
- Sensitivity to light
How are cataracts diagnosed?
Cataracts are diagnosed by an eye doctor during a comprehensive eye exam. The eye doctor will use a variety of tests to assess your vision and determine if you have cataracts.
Treatment for cataracts
There is no cure for cataracts, but they can be treated with surgery. Cataract surgery is a very safe and effective procedure. The vast majority of people who have cataract surgery experience significant improvement in their vision.
Tips for coping with cataracts
If you have cataracts, there are a few things you can do to cope with the condition:
- Wear glasses or contact lenses to correct your vision.
- Use a magnifying glass to help you see small objects.
- Increase the lighting in your home and workplace.
- Avoid driving at night or in bright sunlight.
- See your eye doctor regularly for checkups.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of cataracts, it is important to see an eye doctor right away. Cataracts are a treatable condition, and early diagnosis and treatment can help you maintain your vision and quality of life.