What is a cataract?

Among the various types of eye disorders that can cause problems to one’s normal vision is the cataract. “What is a cataract?” could be one big question that needs a factual answer for anyone who has no medical background.

Definition of Cataract

The term cataract was derived from the Greek word “cataractos” meaning running water. This eyesight problem is compared to running water that flows continuously and changes its clarity from medium to white, then to cloudy. Same concept is applied to one’s eye condition when diagnosed with cataract, the clarity of the eyes changes.

What causes cataract?

  • Acquired through birth in the form of genetic defects.
  • Rare cases result to early childhood eye surgery or intraocular inflammation.
  • Diabetes.
  • People who smoke are more prone to cataracts.
  • Prolong usage of statins, tamoxifen, or any type of steroids taken orally, nasally, or inhaled.
  • Aging process.

Are there different kinds of cataract?

Cataract formation could affect a person, either as birth defect or part of the aging process. There are various forms of cataract.

  • Congenital cataracts from birth or early part of childhood.
  • Cortical cataracts could start when dullness are noticeable on the outer layer of the lens referred as “lens cortex”.
  • Nuclear cataracts are developed when the central part of the lens is affected.
  • Subcapsular cataract could happen quickly when dullness affects the lens capsules, leading to faster changes of one’s vision.

Signs of cataract development

Since the formation of cataract is a gradual process, the person affected may not feel drastic changes to his/her vision or discomfort, but as it advances or progresses, these vision abnormalities can be occur:

  • Normal vision changes to complete blurriness.
  • Unable to withstand bright glare from the sun or headlights of any vehicle.
  • Occurrence of double vision in one eye.

Possible treatments

The usual medical procedure taken when one complains blurred vision is a complete eye analysis to check for any signs of refractive eye problem like cataracts. If found to have one, here are the prescribed treatments:

  • During the early signs of cataract development, prescribed eyeglasses may be given to the patient to aid his/her blurred vision. Other corrective measures are advised such as proper lighting conditions to minimize visual discomfort or blurriness.
  • Cataract eye surgery is performed when eyeglasses no longer help, when eye glare or halos with driving worsen, when any activity of daily living is impaired, when a person’s visual needs at work or with his/her hobby are bothersome, when near vision tasks are blurry especially on computers, kindles, ipads, or cell phones.

Cataract could be threatening if left untreated because it could result to permanent eye damage or blindness. A cataract surgery cost is generally affordable and may vary depending on the actual coverage provided by one’s medical insurance plan. Ask your eye specialist if follow-up treatments are included in the after cataract surgery period. Cataract surgery complications are rare but treatable in most cased. Find an experienced cataract surgeon in your area with at least 10,000 case experience.