What is a Cataract?

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As we age, the proteins in the crystalline lens of the eye will clump together eventually causing the lens to become hard and cloudy. This is a cataract and it will make vision hazy and blurry. A cataract can affect your entire field of vision and make day-to-day functions such as reading and driving difficult or even impossible. Removal of the cataract is the only way to restore vision. Cataract surgery is now recommended when the cataract begins to interfere with your vision and before it begins making daily tasks difficult or affecting your quality of life. For more information on cataract surgery at Kung Eye Center, click here. At Kung Eye Center we offer premium intraocular lenses (IOLs) that can replace your cloudy natural lens to give you clearer, more dependable vision and offer more freedom from glasses following cataract surgery. For more information on lens implant options, click here.

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There are three distinct types of cataracts:

  • Nuclear cataracts are the most common form of cataract and are usually associated with aging. Nuclear cataracts form deep in the central zone of the lens.
  • Subcapsular cataracts develop at the back of the lens and are most in patients with diabetes, pronounced farsightedness, or retinitis pigmentosa, or those who take high doses of steroid medications.
  • Cortical cataracts are characterized by white, wedge-like opacities that develop from the outer edges of the lens and move inward toward the center in a spoke-like pattern. This type of cataract is most common among diabetics.

Symptoms of cataracts include:

  • A loss of color, detail or sharpness to your vision
  • Blurred, Cloudy or dim vision
  • Difficulty with night vision, especially while driving
  • Sensitivity to bright lights
  • Glare or halos around lights
  • Colors aren’t as bright
  • Double vision

Risk Factors

Aside from aging, researchers have identified factors that are associated with the development of cataracts. These include:

  • Ultraviolet radiation from exposure to sunlight and other sources
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Hypertension
  • Previous eye injury or inflammation
  • Previous eye surgery
  • Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications
  • Use of statin medicines to reduce cholesterol
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Significant alcohol consumption
  • High level of myopia
  • Family History

Though there is significant controversy about whether cataracts can be prevented, there are nutrition studies have show that diets high in antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables may help prevent certain types of cataracts.

While most cataract patients are over the age of 50, some people may develop them earlier due to diabetes or injury. Some patients are also born with cataracts, also known as congenital cataracts.

If you think you may be suffering from cataracts, call Kung Eye Center today for a free consultation to get more information on your options or to schedule a cataract exam.