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How do you know if you have cataracts and what can you do to treat them? A cataract is a dense cloudy area that forms in the lens of one or both eyes. It begins when proteins in the eyes form clumps that prevent the lens from sending clear images to the retina. The retina works by converting the light through the lens into signals. It relays these signals to the optic nerve that carries them to the brain.

Cataracts develop slowly and interfere with one’s vision. One might end up with it in both eyes, even though they rarely form at the same time. Cataracts are common among older people but can also occur in younger persons and even babies. Cataracts can interfere with daily life and lead to complete loss of sight if not treated promptly.

Some symptoms to watch for

Some symptoms of cataracts are blurry vision (not seeing clearly), increased sensitivity to bright lights, trouble seeing at night, seeing colours as faded, seeing halos surrounding lights, double vision in the affected eye, and a need for frequent changes in prescription glasses.

Probable causes

There are several causes of cataracts; some of which are connected to the daily/regular lifestyle practices that we sometimes engage in. The following are factors responsible for the development of cataracts: smoking, ultraviolet radiation, long-term use of steroids and other medications, diseases such as diabetes, trauma/eye injury, radiation therapy usually used for treating diseases like cancer. One can also get cataracts from an infected parent at birth, who either has it or is from a family with a history of cataracts.


Cataracts can be treated in two ways; glasses or surgery. The doctor can recommend stronger eyeglasses, magnifying lenses, or sunglasses with an anti-glare coating. He can also perform surgery using ultrasound waves to break the clouded cataract lens apart and remove the pieces (phacoemulsification).

Another surgical option is to remove the cloudy part of the lens through an incision in the cornea. After that, an artificial lens is used to replace the natural one. Doctors usually recommend surgery when cataracts prevent one from going about his/her daily activities, such as reading and driving. Surgery is usually very safe and has a high success rate. Most people can go home the same day after the surgery.

When they are detected early, cataracts can be managed and treated. Schedule regular eye examinations and contact your eye care professional if you notice any changes in your vision.

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