What are cataracts and are they preventable?
Within the eye, the crystalline lens helps to focus light onto a single point on your retina. The ability to focus allows you to see images clearly. Most people are born with a clear crystalline lens.
There are multiple reasons why the lens becomes cloudy and develops cataracts:
1. UV exposure
3. Intrauterine infections (rubella, herpes simplex, toxoplasmosis, varicella and syphilis)
4. Systemic diseases (galactosemia, Wilson disease, hypocalcemia and diabetes)
5. Association with a syndrome (Down Syndrome)
Senile cataracts (age-related cataracts) can be delayed by wearing 100% UV protective sunglasses when outdoors. Ultraviolet light damages the crystalline lens, causing it to become cloudy and yellow in color.
Age-related cataracts will most often cause an increase in halos around lights (which most often affects nighttime driving), yellowing and blurred vision.
Cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure performed by an ophthalmic surgeon. In 2015, 3.6 million cataract procedures were performed in the United States. In cataract surgery, the surgeon creates an incision at the edge of the cornea, removes the crystalline lens, and implants a new intraocular lens (IOL).