Cataracts are the number one cause of blindness in the world. While ophthalmologists are able to treat thousands of people a day in this country and give them their sight back, it may be useful to understand the factors that cause cataracts in an effort to reduce the chance that you will get one in the future.
First, a cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye. The lens is responsible for letting in and focusing light onto the retina so that you can see sharp and clear images. The lens is made up of protein and water, and when protein builds up or clumps together, not as much light is able to get through to the retina. When the light is diminished, so is the image, which can appear cloudy, fuzzy, or blurred, and color can appear faded. If cataracts are not treated they can lead to irreversible blindness.
Some of the risk factors of cataracts can be reduced, including:
- Heavy use of alcohol
- Eye drops that contain steroids
- Diabetes – proper treatment can reduce the chances of getting cataracts
- Excessive exposure to sunlight – ultraviolet light and cosmic rays may be a factor according to some studies
- Diet heavy in salt
Other risks cannot be reduced, including:
- Aging – the number one reason people get cataracts
- Eye injuries or severe trauma to the eye
- Genetic predisposition
While some of these causes could be argued, such as environmental factors, or others where more studies are needed, once someone has a cataract, it is important that they see an experienced cataract surgeon as soon as possible to have it removed.
If you are in the Monmouth or Ocean County, New Jersey area, and you are interested in finding out more about cataracts and their causes, please contact Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates, P.A. today.