What is a Cataract?

  • Initially, the cloudiness in your vision caused by a the lens inside the eye gets older and may affect only a small part of the eye's lens.
     

  • Since this may be subtle, you may be unaware of any vision blur.  
     

  • As the cataract grows larger, it clouds more of your lens and distorts the light passing through the lens. This may lead to more noticeable symptoms.

 


Signs and Symptoms of Cataracts:

  • Clouded, blurred or dim vision

  • Increasing difficulty with vision at night

  • Sensitivity to light and glare

  • Need for brighter light for reading and other activities

  • Seeing "halos" around lights

  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription

  • Fading or yellowing of colors

  • Double vision in a single eye

Causes of Cataracts:

  • Cataracts can develop when aging changes the tissue that makes up the lens in the eyes.
     

  • 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, including nasal sprays in allergy medications, can cause cataracts to develop.
     

Cataracts Growth:

  • The lens, where cataracts form, is behind the colored part of your eye (iris).
     

  • The lens focuses light that passes into your eye, producing clear, sharp images on the retina — in the eye that functions like the film in a camera.
     

  • As you age, the lenses in your eyes become less flexible, less transparent and thicker.
     

  • As the cataract continues to develop, the clouding becomes denser and involves a bigger part of the lens.

 

  • A cataract scatters and blocks the light as it passes through the lens, preventing a sharply defined image from reaching your retina. As a result, your vision becomes blurred.
     

  • Cataracts generally develop in both eyes, but not evenly. The cataract in one eye may be more advanced than the other, causing a difference in vision between eyes.
     

Types of Cataracts:
 

  • Cataract types include:

    • Nuclear Cataracts

      • Cataracts affecting the center of the lens. 

      • A nuclear cataract may at first cause more nearsightedness
        or even a temporary improvement in your reading vision.

      • With time, the lens gradually turns more densely yellow
        and further clouds your vision.

      • As the cataract slowly progresses,
        the lens may even turn brown.

      • Advanced yellowing or browning of the lens can lead
        to difficulty distinguishing between shades of color.

    • Cortical Cataracts

      • Cataracts that affect the edges of the lens. 

      • A cortical cataract begins as whitish, wedge-shaped opacities or streaks on the outer edge of the lens cortex.

      • As it slowly progresses, the streaks extend to the center and interfere with light passing through the center of the lens.

    • Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts

      • Cataracts that affect the back of the lens. 

      • A posterior subcapsular cataract starts as a small,
        opaque area that usually forms near the back of the lens,
        right in the path of light.

         

      • A posterior subcapsular cataract often interferes
        with reading vision, reduces your vision in bright light,
        and causes glare or halos around lights at night.

      • These types of cataracts tend to progress faster than other types do.

    • Congenital Cataracts

      • Cataracts that a person appears at birth. 

      • Some people are born with cataracts or develop them during childhood.

      • These cataracts may be genetic, or associated with an intrauterine infection or trauma.

      • These cataracts also may be due to certain conditions, such as:

        • Myotonic dystrophy, galactosemia, neurofibromatosis type 2 or rubella.

        • Congenital cataracts don't always affect vision, but if they do they're usually removed soon after detection.

 

Risk factors for Cataracts:
 

  • Factors that increase your risk of cataracts:
     

    • Increasing age

    • Diabetes

    • Excessive exposure to sunlight

    • Smoking

    • Obesity

    • High blood pressure

    • Previous eye injury or inflammation

    • Previous eye surgery

    • Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications

    • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
       


 

Preventing Cataracts:
 

  • Get regular eye examinations. 

    • Eye examinations can help detect cataracts and other eye problems at their earliest stages. Ask Dr. Nanda how often you should have an eye examination.
       

  • Quit smoking. 

    • Ask Dr. Nanda for suggestions about how to stop smoking.

    • Medications, counseling and other strategies are available to help you.
       

  • Manage other health problems. 

    • Follow your treatment plan if you have diabetes or other medical conditions that can increase your risk of cataracts.
       

    • Choose a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. 

      • Adding a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to your diet ensures that you're getting many vitamins and nutrients.

      • Fruits and vegetables have many antioxidants, which help maintain the health of your eyes.

      • A healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals was associated with a reduced risk of developing cataracts.

      • Fruits and vegetables have many proven health benefits and are a safe way to increase the amount of minerals and vitamins in your diet.
         

  • Wear sunglasses. 

     
    • Ultraviolet light from the sun may contribute to
      the development of cataracts.

       

    • Wear sunglasses that block ultraviolet B (UVB)
      rays when you're outdoors.




       

  • Reduce alcohol use. 

    • Excessive alcohol intake can increase the risk of cataracts.

 

Make an appointment for an eye exam with Dr. Nanda at the Nanda Dry Eye and Vision Institute at 832-966-0660 if you notice any changes in your vision.

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Dense Cortical Cataract

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