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Cataract: All you need to know

Cataract is a vision disorder that occurs when the lens, the small oval lens behind the pupil, loses its transparency. When the lens becomes opaque, the light rays reach the retina less well, which explains why the vision becomes confused . The word cataract was chosen to describe this impression of looking through a waterfall (from the Latin cataracta , which means waterfall). The crystalline lens plays the same role as the objective lens of a camera: to focus the image according to the distance of the observed object. The lens achieves it by deforming to change its curvature.

Most often, cataracts form slowly, with aging . Over time, the structure of the lens changes. We do not know exactly why, but according to the main hypothesis, the proteins of the crystalline lens would be altered by free radicals , substances naturally produced by the body and contributing to aging. Free radicals are partly neutralized by antioxidants , mainly derived from the fruits and vegetables consumed.

Who is affected?

From age 65 , most people have a cataract onset. Opacification of the lens does not cause significant visual discomfort if it is done in the peripheral layers of the lens.

After the age of 75 , two-thirds of Americans have cataracts advanced enough to affect their vision. Vision loss tends to get worse with age. Cataracts also affect men and women.

Types of cataract

There are several forms of cataracts, here are the main ones.

  1. Senile cataract

    The majority of cataracts occur in the elderly. The normal aging process can result in hardening and opacification of the lens. Age-related cataract often affects one eye more than the other.

  2. Secondary cataract

    Certain diseases (especially diabetes , if poorly controlled), taking certain medications (for example, oral cortisone) or exposure to high doses of radiation may be the cause of cataracts. In addition, having surgery to the eye or having certain eye problems (such as high myopia, glaucoma or retinal detachment) makes you at increased risk of cataracts.

  3. The traumatic cataract

    It occurs as a result of an injury to the eye that damages the lens: a blow, a cut, exposure to intense heat, a chemical burn, etc.

  4. Cataract in children

    Cataracts can occur from birth, but this is rare. It may accompany a congenital disease (for example, trisomy 21) or result from an infectious disease of the mother transmitted to the fetus during pregnancy, such as rubella, toxoplasmosis , genital herpes or syphilis.

Evolution of cataract

When visual acuity drops to the point of significantly restricting daily activities, it is a possible sign of cataract. Generally, this decline in vision occurs slowly, over several years. However, sometimes it happens more quickly (in a few months).

When the cataract is more advanced, the pupil does not appear black, but rather gray or milky white . At an advanced stage, vision can be limited to the perception of light.

When should you consult an eye doctor?

Cataract is usually detected during an eye exam by an eye doctor. Any change in the quality of vision should prompt consultation with an eye doctor in Orlando.


A more frequent need to change lenses prescription, because cataracts accentuate myopia . (However, people who are farsighted may initially feel that their vision is improving.

Note. Cataract is painless.

People at risk

Every one are at risk for cataracts because aging is the main risk factor. However, the risk is greater in people:

Risk factors

Basic preventive measures

  1. Do not smoke . Smokers can reduce their risk of senile cataracts by quitting smoking.
  2. Protect your eyes from the sun . Excessive exposure to the sun is known to cause damage to the lens that may accelerate the onset of cataracts. It is therefore important to wear a broad- brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect against UVA and UVB rays. Limiting exposure to microwaves, X-rays and infrared radiation may also slow down cataract formation.
  3. Eat enough fruits and vegetables . The antioxidants they contain help prevent cataracts. Canada's Food Guide recommends that women eat 7 to 8 servings a day; and men, 7 to 10 servings. See also Complementary approaches .
  4. Control your blood sugar in case of diabetes . People with diabetes need to monitor their blood glucose , blood pressure and cholesterol levels to prevent eye disorders. See the Complications of Diabetes fact sheet.
  5. Protect your eyes at work and play . Cataracts due to certain injuries can be prevented by wearing adequate protection at work and during sports activities.
  6. Treat an infection during pregnancy . In case of infectious disease (genital herpes, syphilis, etc.), pregnant women should consult their doctor. It is possible to reduce the risk that the infection will affect the newborn.

Do you feel you have cataracts with the information I have provided above? Better safe than sorry, book an appoinment with an eye doctor in Orlando. To do this, visit www.eyeswinterpark.com now.

Call us today to schedule an exam!