Can Cataracts Cause Permanent Blindness?
Cataracts are a degenerative condition that causes the clouding of the natural eye’s lens. A healthy lens refracts light from an object onto the retina through the pupil. The light forms an image of the object on the retina whose job is to transmit this image to the brain.
As the lens degenerates, it changes or blocks the passage of light into the eye. The image does not form clearly, and you experience difficulty focusing on objects.
Why Do Cataracts Form?
As you grow and age, your body replaces your old cells with new ones. With age, the proteins that form new cells break down, and older cells start to accumulate in the lens. It leads to the clouding of the lens, which blocks light as it tries to pass through.
Causes of Cataracts
The exact cause is unknown; however, it is often part of growing older. With age comes the risk of getting cataracts. Several other risks can cause cataracts. They include:
- Eye injuries.
- Hereditary influences.
- Long-term use of steroids.
- Long-term exposure to UV rays.
Cataracts do not cause pain, tears, or redness of the eyes. They may develop without you noticing until it is too late. That is why it is advisable to go for regular comprehensive exams before it is too late. However, there are a few problems you may be able to note. These problems may indicate you have cataracts. They include:
- Blurry or double vision.
- Lights seem too dim for reading.
- Sensitivity to light.
- Frequent change in eyeglass prescription, which does not help your vision.
If you notice any of the above changes in your vision, make sure you see your eye doctor. At first, the clouding only affects a small part of your light lens. That is why you may be unaware of it even as it leads to more noticeable symptoms.
There are no substantive cause and effect links for cataracts. Thus, there is no clear way to prevent them. However, the best way to prevent blindness from cataracts is to maintain regular eye checkups. They will also help you track any progression of the condition. There are other ways you can slow their progression.
They include wearing hats and sunglasses to protect you from UV rays. Avoid lights that have glare and make it hard to see. It may mean that you limit driving at night to minimize the glare. Another thing you can consider is adding nutritional supplements to your diet. However, consult your doctor before you do this.
Treatment of cataracts is through cataract surgery. It involves the removal of the cloudy natural lens and replacing it with a clear artificial lens. The artificial lens or intraocular lens takes the same position as the natural lens. It becomes a permanent part of your eye.
The procedure is generally an outpatient; thus, you do not need to stay in hospital. You will have some discomfort for a few days, but it only takes a few weeks for it to heal.
Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness among older adults in the United States. However, they can occur in young people and even newborn babies.
For more information on cataracts, visit Maple Eye and Laser Center at our office in White Plains or Manhattan, New York. You can call (914) 948-5157 today to schedule an appointment.