Whenever the lens of the eye clouds over, it’s known as a cataract. The eye condition can occur in either eye and negatively affects vision. In most cases, cataracts develop as a person ages, more than 2.5 million Canadians have cataracts.
The Different Types of Cataracts
The different types of cataracts include:
- Congenital cataracts, which start in childhood or infancy. This type of cataract is common in both eyes, but it often doesn’t impact the person’s vision. In cases in where the cataract does affect the eye, the lens can be removed from the eye.
- Traumatic cataracts appear after the eye has been injured. It’s not unusual for this type of cataract to develop several years after the injury occurred.
- Radiation cataracts can appear after a person has been exposed to radiation.
The Ways in Which Cataracts Affect Vision
As the lens starts to cloud over from the formation of the cataract, the person’s vision worsens as a result of the retina not being able to process a clear image of what the eye is seeing. In addition to the person’s vision worsening over time, the afflicted lens can also start to become discolored over time, resulting in a brown or yellow tinge on the lens.
Risk Factors Associated With Cataracts
While cataracts are more common in older individuals, there’s still a chance a person can develop them while in their 40s or 50s. Cataracts can also form during middle age, but they are usually so minor that they don’t affect the vision. It’s usually only after the age of 60 that cataracts start to negatively affect the vision.
In addition to consuming alcohol and smoking, diabetes and other diseases can lead to the formation of cataracts. Being out in the sun for extended periods of time can also increase a person’s chances of having a cataract.
Cataracts can be successfully treated with surgery. Once the cataract has been successfully treated, the person may need to wear new eyeglasses or contact lenses in the future to correct their vision.