These signs can lead to cataract

  • Jan 24 , 2017

Cataract in medical terms refers to the disease that involves the clouding of the eye lens, leading to decrease in vision. Cataract development is usually a slow process, but can occasionally occur rapidly and can affect one or both eyes.

What causes cataract?

Cataracts are changes in the clarity of the natural lens inside the human eye that gradually degrade your visual quality. The lens of an eye is made up of mostly water and protein. Specific proteins within the lens are responsible for maintaining its clarity.

Over many years, the structures of these lens proteins are altered and these proteins in a small area of the lens mass together, leading to clouding of the lens and creating a cataract. Cataract grows as more proteins build up. Cataracts can be present at birth or in early childhood as the result of hereditary enzyme defects, eye surgery and severe injury to the eye can also cause cataracts to occur.

Various factors which might advance your risk of developing cataracts or may speed their formation include:

  • Smoking
  • Having diabetes
  • Long-term use of corticosteroids
  • Taking antipsychotic medications in the phenothiazine group, such as Thorazine (chlorpromasine) 
  • Swelling of the eye
  • Excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun
  • A family history of cataracts
  • Nutritional deficiencies, such as low intake of antioxidants

There are different types of cataracts, which are categorised based upon their location in the lens.

  • Nuclear sclerotic cataracts: Developing near the focal point of the lens, these are the most common type of cataract. The nucleus hardens and it causes nearsightedness.
  • Cortical cataracts: These sorts of cataracts influences the layer of the lens that surrounds the nucleus. They regularly start at the outer portion of the lens and gradually grows internal as they advance.
  • Posterior subscapular cataracts: These types of cataracts develop in the back outer layer of the lens, directly in the path of light heading towards the retina.

Cataracts symptoms:

  • Blurred or hazy vision
  • Colour distortion or loss of colour intensity
  • Difficulty seeing at night or in dim light
  • Double vision
  • Inability to distinguish colours
  • Improved near vision
  • A glare vision

Cataracts have been the leading cause of blindness in the world, and are responsible for about 51 per cent of cases of blindness worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation.