A cataract is a normal part of aging. It forms in the lens of the eye, which is responsible for bending light rays to focus them on the retina (in partnership with the cornea). This is similar to how the lens of a camera works. As the lens changes shape, it keeps images at certain distances in focus for you to see clearly. A cataract forms when the proteins that make up the lens start to clump, thereby clouding and hardening the lens. As they progress, they cause vision loss.
The most common cause of a cataract is normal aging but numerous other causes exist such as injury, long-term use of steroid eye drops, toxins, diabetes, or genetics.
Problems you may notice include blurry vision, colour change, fading, seeing halos and glare around lights, and problems with seeing in dim light. You may also notice a temporary improvement in your near vision, or find yourself using your reading glasses less often.
1) Nuclear cataract: This is the most common kind of cataract, where the clouding starts in the center of the lens. It scatters light onto the retina, rather than allowing the lens to focus it, leading to reduced clarity of vision.
2) Cortical cataract: This kind of cataract starts on the edges of the lens, moving towards the center. The majority of people with this kind of cataract will have many of their symptoms in dimly-lit environments.
3) Subcapsular cataract: This kind of cataract develops at the back of the lens, and most frequently produces glares and halos around bright lights.
The treatment for cataracts that start to affect one’s vision is surgery to remove the lens. We replace this old cloudy lens with an artificial clear lens implant, commonly referred as an “intraocular lens” (IOL). There are a number of different IOLs available depending on your specific needs. Please visit Cataract Surgery to learn more about the surgery and the different types of lenses available to you.