What are Cataracts?
When rays of light enter our eyes, they go through the lens located inside the eye. A normally functioning lens is transparent and bends the rays of light coming into our eyes, so they focus on the retina perfectly. The rays are then converted into nerve signals which are sent to the brain through the optic nerve, allowing us to experience perfect vision.
A cataract refers to a clouding of the lens in our eye. Mostly caused by the natural process of ageing, cataracts can cause visual impairment by forming cloudy structures on the lens of the eye, which interferes with the refractive process of the lens. As the rays of light entering our eye do not bend properly, we experience visual impairments.
Cataracts are common and curable in today’s world. Almost half the population over eighty is likely to experience some form of cataracts.
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Types of Cataracts
Overall, there are three types of cataracts that are caused by old – nuclear sclerotic, cortical, and posterior subcapsular. A person may suffer from one type of cataracts or a combination of two or more types of cataracts as they age.
- Nuclear sclerotic is considered as one of the most common forms of cataracts. It is a medical term for stating that the lens of the eye has become hardened over time. As the condition progresses, there may be perceived improvements for close-up vision, but it is not permanent. This type of cataract takes a long time to develop before it can start significantly affecting vision.
- Cataracts which develop in the lens cortex of the eye are known as cortical cataracts. These are usually caused by changes in the water content of the eye’s lens fibres. These fibres cause the light entering our eye to scatter, which affects our vision.
- Posterior Subcapsular cataracts are cataracts which develop behind the lens (posterior) of the eye. It is known as subcapsular as it forms under the lens capsule which is responsible for holding the eye in place and encloses the lens. Posterior Subcapsular cataracts often create halos and glare around lights.
Causes of Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts
Posterior subcapsular cataracts often tend to develop very quickly with its symptoms becoming noticeable within months. Even though the most common cause of cataracts is the natural ageing process, here are some other risk factors for posterior subcapsular cataracts:
- People who have used steroids.
- People who suffer from diabetes.
- People who experience extreme nearsightedness.
- People who suffer from retinitis pigmentosa.
Curable and Common!
Even though cataracts may seem like a serious problem, it is surprisingly a very common and fortunately a very curable one too. Modern cataract surgery is highly advanced and can cure cataracts and restore any vision lost to the disease.
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