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Cataracts Definition

What are cataracts?

If you have a cataract in your eye, then you will find your vision to be blurry. The lenses of your eye become clouded, it is described as similar to staring through a frosted window. If you have cataracts then it is advised you do not perform any dangerous tasks that require you to be able to see clearly, such as driving.

It is unlikely that your cataracts will develop quickly. Instead, they take time to progressively get worse and start to interfere with your vision. In fact, at the start, you may well find that stronger lighting or by wearing eyeglasses offsets much of the loss in vision. However, if it does get worse then a routine surgery is the likely form of treatment.

What causes cataracts?

Most cataracts are caused due to two reasons. The first is as a result of your body ageing. The second is that they may be caused by some sort of injury that has damaged the tissue that makes up the eye lens. Research has found that inherited genetic disorders can increase the likelihood of someone developing cataracts. Other causes of cataracts include the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Past eye surgery
  • Long-term steroid medicine usage

Symptoms of cataracts

The most common symptoms and signs of cataracts include the following:

  • Seeing "halos" appear around lights
  • Frequent changes in your contact lens prescription or eyeglass
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Feeling the need for brighter light when reading
  • Experiencing a yellowing or fading of colours
  • Greater difficulty with your vision at night
  • Sensitivity to glare and light
  • Dim, blurred or clouded vision

Be aware that, as your cataracts progress, many of the symptoms listed above will become more apparent. Once you start to notice any changes in your vision, you should visit your doctor. If the symptoms are more noticeable and come on quickly, then seek more urgent attention.

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