Symptoms and Causes of Cataract

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Cataract, an eye condition that causes a formation of an opaque, cloudy film on your eye-lens, is among the leading causes of blindness in Canada. Thousands of Canadians suffer from cataract, and the number of cataract patients keeps increasing every year. The formation and development of cataracts is a slow, gradual process, and can be identified through regular, periodic visits to your local optical clinic. If identified in time, this condition can be treated without the need for surgery. Being aware of the symptoms and potential causes of cataract can allow you take the right steps to diagnose and treat the problem before it gets worse. Read on to know the common symptoms and causes of cataracts.

Symptoms of Cataracts

      Blurred Vision: One of the most common symptoms of cataracts is the blurring of vision. In the initial stages of cataracts, the patient experiences blurred vision due to the presence of cloudy spots in the visual field. Persistence of such conditions could signify the formation of a cataract.
      Increased Light Sensitivity: Increased sensitivity to bright light and glare can also be a symptom of a developing cataract. If you find that you are squinting more often in the presence of brightness and glare, be sure to mention that to your optometrist.
      Frequent Changes in Glasses Prescription: If you find that your prescription for glasses is varying abnormally over a short period of time, you might be experiencing signs of cataract development. Visiting the same optometrist over time will enable you to keep track of this.
      Weakened Night Vision: Weakening of vision in the evenings and inability to see clearly due to even a slight lack of illumination may potentially indicate cataract development. Keep track of your night vision and approach your optometrist if you’re in doubt.
      The Appearance of Halos: Another sign of cataract formation is the appearance of halos or sometimes rainbows around light sources. The frequent occurrence of this phenomenon may indicate the presence of a cataract in one of your eyes.
      Double Vision: The formation of the cataract over your eye-lens might lead to double vision in one of your eyes. This is something you should definitely get checked by your optometrist, as it may indicate some other major eye issue if not a cataract.

Causes of Cataracts

      Diabetes: Although not a causative factor, diabetes is a risk factor for cataracts. Thus, controlling blood sugar can reduce the risk of cataract formation. If you have diabetes and experience more than one of the above symptoms, be sure to have a word about it with an optometrist.
      Medicinal Side-effects: Certain medications, if taken excessively may increase the risk of cataracts. Be sure to monitor your eye health and be aware of side effects of any medication you might be taking.
      Genetics: Having parents or grandparents who have or had cataracts might be a risk factor for cataract development. Hence, being aware of your family medical history may help identify and treat cataract in the early stages.
      Excessive UV Exposure: Ultraviolet radiation from the sun, as you might know, is harmful to your eyes. Prolonged direct exposure to UV rays can increase the chances of developing cataracts. So make sure to wear UV protection sunglasses when you go out, even when the sun is not too harsh.
      Improper Nutrition: Lack of proper nutrition, especially the deficiency of vitamins such as Vitamin A may lead to poor eye health and may be instrumental in cataract development. Make sure to maintain a healthy diet and take enough vitamins.
      Surgery: The risk of developing cataracts may increase after having eye surgeries. Therefore, it is necessary to regularly visit your optometrist after an eye surgery to track the recovery of your eyes and monitor for potential cataract development. Injuries to the eye can also cause the development of a cataract.

Although cataracts can have severe effects on your vision, including blindness, the good news is that it is curable. Cataract surgeries are among the most perfected medical procedures and hence, are performed with high accuracy and with effective outcomes. However, prevention is always better than cure, and thus, you should make sure to have regular eye examinations by a qualified optometrist.