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What is Cataracts?

Cataracts is the clouding of the eye's natural lens. The lens lies behind the iris and the pupil. When a person has cataracts, they may have difficulty seeing. Cataracts affect vision by scattering incoming light.

Cataracts are the leading cause of visual loss among adults 55 and older.

Purpose of the Eye's lens

The eye's lens is very similar to a camera lens. It focuses light onto the retina at the back of the eye. The lens also adjusts the eye's focus, letting us see things clearly both up close and far away.

The lens is mostly composed of water and protein. As a person gets older, some of the protein clumps together and starts to cloud a small area of the lens. This is cataracts. Over time, the cloud may grow larger and cloud more of the lens.

What Causes Cataracts?

The exact cause of cataracts is unknown.

Symptoms of Cataracts

Symptoms vary according to the type of cataracts. When nuclear cataracts first develops it can bring about a temporary improvement in your near vision. However, the improved vision is short-lived and will disappear as the nuclear cataracts worsens.

Some of the most common symptoms of cataracts are:

  • hazy or blurred vision
  • dimmed colors
  • light appearing too bright or glaring

Types of Cataracts

There are three main types of cataracts: nuclear, cortical, and subcapsular.

  1. Nuclear cataracts forms in the center of the lens, and is due to natural aging changes.
  2. Cortical cataracts forms in the lens cortex and gradually extends from the outside of the lens to the center.
  3. Subcapsular cataracts begins at the back of the lens. People with diabetes, high farsightedness, and retinitis pigmentosa are at a higher risk of developing subcapsular cataracts.

Treatment of Cataracts

Treatment options will depend on the kind of cataracts. New glasses, strong bifocals, magnification, and a lens replacement are some of the most common treatments.

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