When a cataract develops, thick groups of protein form over the area of the eye that helps focus things seen. This area is referred to as the lens. In an eye that has no cataract, the lens is clear and light is able to pass through it and go to the retina so a clear image can be seen. The lens in an eye with a cataract is clouded, however, and the image produced is not clear. Cataracts are commonly found in the elderly, but cataracts have been known to develop in people as young as 40. People who have diabetes, people who smoke or drink alcohol, and people who expose their eyes to sunlight for long periods of time are at risk for cataracts too.
People who think they have cataracts may find the following cataract guide helpful in recognizing the signs of this eye condition. If any of these signs exist, a doctor should be seen for an eye exam. Cataracts can be treated.
1. Images seen by people who have cataracts may look fuzzy. Clarity of vision is obscured due to the patches of protein on the eye’s lens, and vision may worsen as the cataract grows. After a while, vision may also acquire a brownish tint and colors may be hard to recognize. Colors may also appear washed out. People who have had cataracts for a while may have difficulty reading or seeing shows on the television clearly.
2. Lights viewed through the eyes of people with cataracts can be too intense. People with cataracts may see a ring of light around images. They may not be able to see well when the sun is shining. Night driving may also become a problem since the glare of headlights may make it difficult to see.
3. People with cataracts may look at one person or object and see two instead of one. This cataract symptom is called diplopia. Sometime three images of a single image are seen when cataracts are present. There is a good chance this symptom will disappear as the protein deposits on the lens get bigger.
4. Changes in vision are a common symptom of cataracts. Because cataracts usually produce vision changes, people who have cataracts may find that they need to get a new eyeglass prescription or contact lens prescription more often than usual.
5. People with cataracts may find that they can read better at a close distance than they did before they had cataracts. This sign is called second sight, and it is temporary.
6. The eyes of people with cataracts develop a visible white film over time. The film is transparent and grows over the pupil.
Cataracts can easily be corrected with surgery. Cataract surgery is a common procedure that involves removing the lens with the cataract and replacing it with a man-made lens. The surgery is safe and highly effective, and the majority of people who have cataract surgery can see better than they could before the procedure.
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