Cataract – Causes
Cataract is opacity that develops in the eye’s envelope or in its crystalline lens. Cataract is actually derived from the word “cataracta” which is a Latin word for “waterfall” and “kataraktes” which means “to wash down” in Greek.
The eye lens work like camera lens. The light is focused into the retina at the back of the eyes. The lens aids the focus of the eyes letting the eyes see clearly. The crystalline lens of the eyes is mainly made up of water and protein.
The protein is naturally bonded together so that light may pass through. Cataract is formed when that bond changes and the molecules of protein are clump together. These clumps obstruct the light entering the lens.
As we age these clumps grow bigger and cloudier. Researchers are not sure why the eye lens change as we age, thus forming cataracts. Although not common, cataract also occurs on young persons.
Causes Of Cataract
These are sometimes caused by eye trauma, prescription drugs or chronic medical conditions. However they have identified some risk factors of which can cause cataract. These include:
- Long-term exposure to ultraviolet light
- Secondary effects of diseases such as myotonic, dystrophy, diabetes and Wilson’s disease.
- Fetal exposure to radiation
- Alcohol and abuse of substances during pregnancy contribute a high risk factor.
- Smoking is one of the major risk factor of cataract.
- Long term alcohol use leads to the development of cataract; this is because alcohol can lead to vitamin deficiency.
- Vitamin C and vitamin E deficiency are said to may have linked to the development of cataract.
- Eye infection also is a major risk. A tumor may cause changes that will often lead to cataract development.
Categorization Of Cataract
Cataracts are categorized into three types because the eye lens consists of three components. These are the nucleus or the center lens, the lens cortex or the periphery, and the membrane that envelops the lens or the capsule.
- Nuclear Cataract - The most common cataract found among older patients. This type of cataract develops in the nucleus. Nuclear cataract can take years to develop.
- Cortical Cataract - This type of cataract forms in the peripheral area or the lens cortex area. Cortical cataract is common among patients who are diabetic. If left untreated it will sooner or later extend its spores into the center.
- Subcapsular Cataract - Subcapsular cataract develops at the back of the lens area and sometimes in the center. Rapid symptoms can occur in just over month’s period.
Cataracts tend to interfere with the vision in the early stages of cataract. Causing blurred or hazy vision, however this can be improved by using new glasses, sufficient lighting, magnification, strong bifocals or any other visual aid.
But cataract may need to be surgically removed by your ophthalmologist if the symptom worsens, making it difficult to do daily activities such as driving, reading or working.