A video on cataracts
Please watch the video below to get an understanding of how cataracts form and how they can be prevented.
How cataracts develop
In cataracts the clear lens towards the front of your eye becomes cloudy. This cloudiness can occur gradually so that initially you sense only a slight blurring of your vision (which you may attribute to being tired). As noted by Vision Australia (visionaustralia.org/information/eye-conditions/cataracts), the early symptoms of cataracts include glare and sensitivity to bright light. At this stage, using stronger lighting of the room or the things you're looking at, in combination with corrective spectacles help you manage with the relatively minor changes in vision caused by the cataracts.
As the cataract worsens, vision becomes worse with:
- blurred, hazy and foggy vision,
- an aura of halo around lights especially noticeable with streetlights and car lights (mainly because of the dark night background which provides a stronger contrast to see the halos),
- distortion of vision or double vision in the affected eye(s),
- a feeling like you're viewing the world through a hazy filter, like looking through a film, veil or curtain, and
- changes in the appearance of colours which can appear more faded or yellowish in hue.
Most often cataracts are associated with ageing, and it has been estimated that in countries like Australia and the US, by the age of 80 more than half of the population will have cataracts or have had surgery for cataracts (consisting of replacing the lens in the eye with an artificial lens). You'll then need to have lenses made up to compensate for the fixed power of these artificial lenses, but cataract surgery is very successful in restoring normal vision.
As the Mayo Clinic (mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cataracts/symptoms-causes/syc-20353790) notes:
Most cataracts develop when aging or injury changes the tissue that makes up your eye's lens. Age-related and other medical conditions cause tissues within the lens to break down and clump together, clouding small areas within the lens. Some inherited genetic disorders that cause other health problems can increase your risk of cataracts. Cataracts can also be caused by other eye conditions, past eye surgery or medical conditions such as diabetes. Long-term use of steroid medications, too, can cause cataracts to develop. As the cataract continues to develop, the clouding becomes denser and involves a bigger part of the lens.
Degree of cataracts: