Did you know that age-related cataracts are extremely common? A normal part of life, almost every person will develop cataracts at some stage. In fact, the majority of people will develop cataracts as they age. It is said that by the year 2020 more than 30 million American people will have cataracts and experience the blurring and distorted vision that comes along with it.
Many people are aware of the term, but do they know what exactly a cataract is or the symptoms that go along with it? With cataracts, vision can slowly become distorted over time. This gradual vision impairment can often go unnoticed for long periods. Cataracts can continue to progress at this pace until a person is blind. Thankfully, cataracts are very treatable and impaired vision can be restored due to modern medical advances.
The term cataract derives from Greek and Latin roots. The term comes from the Greek and Latin word for waterfall. It is believed that this term came about because the clouding of a persons eye with cataracts resembled water flowing in ones eyes. Those with untreated cataracts will experience blurred or distorted vision as well as faded colors.
As the cataract progresses, these symptoms worsen and can lead to blindness. Although cataracts are associated with the typical signs of aging, they can also result from trauma, sun exposure or disease. The best way to understand the cause of cataracts is to examine the way that the eyes work. To do this, we must examine the parts of the eye, especially the lens and eyeball. The lens is comprised primarily of water and protein. The protein is distributed such a way that light can pass through it without being distorted.
When we age, the eye changes and the protein starts to separate and clump together. This creates a buildup that is difficult to see through; this will begin to affect a persons vision as the buildup hardens. The lens will begin to thicken and it begins to become less transparent and pliable. This may only affect a small area of the eye at first, but within a matter of time that spot will increase and eventually cover the entire lens of the eye. The vision impairment experienced by a person with cataracts is because the light is scattered through the lens so that it cannot translate sharp images to the retina.
Not all cataracts are the same. There are classifications of cataracts that are determined based on location on a persons lens. There are three primary types of cataracts nuclear, cortical and subcapsular. Other types which are not a result of aging include congenital and traumaticcataracts.
Article Submitted & Written By:Community Eye Center- click for more information*
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