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Best things to know about Cataracts

Cataract, or lens opacity, is a cloudy or opaque area in the eye's natural lens, which lies between th iris and the pupil.

The lens of the eye is normally clear, but if it becomes cloudy, the condition is known as cataract. In very rare cases, cataracts may be present at birth or very soon after birth. These are called congenital cataracts. As people are aging, the risk of cataracts increases. Cataract may run in families but the risks are increased by some factors such as smoking, exposure to other toxic substances, diabetes, and certain medications, such as cortisone.

Congenital cataracts may be inherited or they can be caused by the infections of the mother during pregnancy, such as rubella.

Adult cataracts are very often associated with aging and they develop slowly and painlessly. The visual acuity decreases, even in daylight. Most people have cataracts after the age of 60. It is well known the fact that almost 50% of the people aged 65-74 have visually significant cataracts. In many cases, the cause of the cataracts remains unknown.

The symptoms of the cataract can be the folowing: cloudy, fuzzy, foggy or film vision; loss of color intensity; frequent changes in eyeglass prescription; impare vision at night; halos around lights; double vision in one eye; decreased contrast sensitivity. If you think you might have cataracts, you should see a doctor for an exam to find out for sure. You should make an appointment if you have symptoms such as progressive deterioration of the vision, decreased night vision, or problems with glare.

The treatment of cataracts in the early stage can consist in only using new glasses, strong bifocals, magnification, appropriate lighting or other visual aids. For severe cataracts, when the patient cannot see well enough with glasses, the only efficient treatment is surgical removal. Through the cataracts surgery the lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an artificial one. Anyway, surgery is not necessary if the cataract is not bothersome.

In most cases, cataract surgery has a low risk of complications. In some cases vision may not improve 20/20 after cataract surgery if the patient suffer from other eye diseases, such as macular degeneration. You can prevent cataracts by controlling associated diseases and avoiding exposure to factors known to increase the risk of cataracts. Also, wearing sunglasses that filter damaging UV helps you to prevent the cataract formation. For patients which are smokers, quitting will diminish the risk of cataracts.

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