A cataract is a cloudy patch that develops on the lens of the eye, they are most often associated with the elderly; people over 70 in particular often suffer from cataracts. Although they are most often associated with older individuals, this does not mean that younger people cannot be affected. A cataract can also be caused by an eye infection, an accident or a congenital disorder. The cataract itself is not painful and it does not pose any risks to the individual’s health, it does however cause night vision problems and blurred vision.
A cataract can occur in one eye if the cause is an accident, other than that cataracts are most likely to happen to both eyes at the same time. The symptoms include blurriness, sensitivity to light and colors may appear faded or with a yellow tint. As they progress, it becomes more difficult to determine shapes and to accurately gauge distances, especially in environments where there is little light.
The eye can experience pain, this can be caused from an allergy or an infection, but cataracts rarely are the cause of any pain. In extreme cases a cataract may become embedded into the lens of the eye at which time it will turn white, swell, become inflamed and be the cause of chronic head pain. Under these circumstances the sufferer should head to the emergency room if the pain is persistent.
Only in rare cases does the individual end up in the emergency room, in most cases those with mild symptoms simply schedule an appointment with a responsible eye doctor and have the situation professionally evaluated. During the visit, the doctor will inspect the eyes in an effort to determine if there is any damage to the optic nerve or retina. Once the doctor has completed the preliminary examination and the size and location of the cataract has been determined, a discussion or treatment can be had.
The normal treatment for a cataract is a procedure known as a “lens extraction”. During this surgery, the lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an artificial lens. Rarely are there any complications with this surgery and most patients find that their vision is regained within a matter of a day or two. For a few days the patient is advised to use eye drops and to wear sunglasses when venturing outdoors.