A cataract is a clouding of the originally clear eye lens.
This slowly worsens the vision; people affected feel their vision blurring more and more, as if they were looking through a veil or through fog. With time the contrasts and colors continue to blur. Some people become very sensitive to glare caused by the sun or by lamps. This often makes driving more stressful, especially at night or in the twilight. Faulty vision increases the risk of falling and of subsequent injuries. Also, this has a negative influence on spatial vision.
The natural lens of the eye is just behind the pupil. It consists of transparent proteins that have special optical refractive properties. In most cases, lens opacities occur from the age of 65 due to the natural aging process (senile cataract). In addition, injuries, chronic inflammation in the eye or the use of certain medications can also be the cause of cataracts. In rarer cases, cataracts can also be congenital or hereditary.
In the past, when cataract surgery was not yet possible, or not possible in the modern form, people went blind due to a progressive clouding of the lens. In its most drastic form, the so-called mature cataract, the lens will be milky white-gray. Even the naked eye will be able to perceive this as a gray clouding behind the pupil.
The term „cataract“ has Greek origins and means “waterfall”, due to the gray clouding of the mature cataract, which must have reminded people of a frozen waterfall.
There are no scientific studies proving that certain preventive measures lower the risk of a cataract. Due to the natural aging process almost all people over 65 will have a clouded lens. If this also leads to worsening vision or subjective symptoms, surgery may be considered.
Factors Favoring a cataract are:
• Ultraviolet rays
• Infrared rays
• Eye injuries
• Medication (such as cortisone)
At A Glance
- Symptoms: like looking through a dirty window or veil
- Causes: ageing processes of the eye
- Diagnostics: Eye examination
- Treatment: Surgery
- Prognosis: good when having surgery