Cataract is an eye disease in which clouding of lens takes place which is normally clear. Lens becomes foggy and decreases the vision. It is developed gradually with the age. It can develop in both eyes, but it does not pass from one eye to other, it is not contagious. It is progressive and painless. In this condition lens become opaque. Refractive index of lens varies which results in variation in transmitted light. Change in lens proteins, cell structure leads to change in refractive index of lens. Opacity may be due to aggregation of proteins on the lens. There is breakdown of lens architecture which results in cataract.
Lens plays the major role. In normal eyes when light passes through lens, it is focused on retina which has light sensitive receptors and processed by the brain and we see the image. But when the lens become cloudy there is change in refractive index of lens and leads to blurry vision. This may lead to difficulty in driving, reading and recognizing face but initially wearing glasses can solve the problem.
Cataract can be due to age factor or it can be due to some mutations or genetic alterations since birth or due to any eye injury or diseases like diabetes.
As you grow older there is coagulation of protein crystallin or vacuole formation on the lens which makes it opaque. Also sometimes lens color changes to yellowish brown. This is known is known as Age –related cataract.
It is further classified into three categories according to its location.
• Nuclear Cataract
• Capsular Cataract
• Cortical Cataract
In childhood cataract or juvenile cataract there is mutation in gene right from birth. It is also known as congenital cataract.
Cataract can also be classified as-
• Immature cataract which has some transparent protein as it’s in bud stage.
• Mature cataract is developed one with solid protein all over the lens leading to its opaque nature.
• Hyper mature cataract is one in which lens proteins become liquid.
According to the statistics, risk of cataract is increasing with increase in age. People above 40 and more are likely to have developed cataract in long run. Cataract is most common among people over 65 years. Cataract can also occur in younger people.
Cataract is more likely to occur among women. 61% women were suffering from cataract in year 2010.
Cataract is the principal cause of blindness in the world. According to the World Health Organization 51% blindness is caused due to cataract, which accounts for about approximately 54 million people.
Few facts about cataract
• Cataract does not grow on top of the eye. It grows within the lens and it cannot be reversible. There is accumulation of protein within the lens.
• Cataract can be removed at any point of development. You don’t need to wait till it’s developed fully. You can go for a surgery in early stage too.
• People suffering from diabetes have increased risk or are more prone to cataract.
• Cataracts generally do not grow back once surgery is successful. Lens is replaced with a plastic and cataract cannot grow over it.
• Cataract surgery is one of the safest and highly preferred with 95% success rate.
• Cataract cannot be removed by laser as it does not grow on the lens, it is within the lens.
• Cataract can develop even at young age due to some eye injury or an exposure to radiations.
• Patient can recover immediately after cataract surgery. It does not take months to recover. Patient should take some precautionary measures to avoid any strain initially like use sunglasses to protect eyes from harmful UV rays.
I think this article must have helped you to know about cataract better and the knowledge of these facts will help you to deal with it safely and must have removed some of the predefined misconceptions about cataract.
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