Cataract: The Facts
The Latin meaning of cataract is a waterfall. I have often wondered exactly why. Perhaps because it’s difficult to see through a waterfall. Who knows?
A cataract is a cloudy area in the lens of your eye. Most* cataracts are caused by normal changes in your eyes as you get older. At around age 40, the proteins in the lens of your eye start to break down and clump together. This clumping makes a cloudy area in your lens termed a cataract. Over time, the cataract gets more severe and clouds more of the lens.
Cataracts are very common as you get older. Some ophthalmologists say they are inevitable. The figures do vary but it is estimated that half of the people over 65 years old have visually significant cataract. The great news is that surgery can remove a cataract.
What are the symptoms of cataract?
At first, you may not notice that you have a cataract. But over time, cataracts can make your vision blurry, hazy, or less colourful. You may have trouble reading or doing other everyday activities.
Colour change is the most mentioned noticeable change when I see patients post-cataract surgery. Monet is a great example of this improvement – there is an interesting article here: https://yoursightmatters.com/the-real-reason-that-monets-paintings-took-a-dark-turn/.
Essentially, Monet’s colour palette changed. With advancing impairment from cataract, he saw colour as being less vibrant and browner and redder in tone. Once he had surgery the colours returned.
What you can do to delay cataract
You can take steps to protect your eyes and delay cataract formation.
- Wear polarised sunglasses and a hat with a brim to block the sun.
- Stop smoking.
- Eat healthy. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables — especially dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale etc.
- Have regular eye examinations.
I hope this blog post has been of interest and I look forward to welcoming you in practice again soon.
*Some cataracts are formed by trauma, medications or other eye diseases.
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