Cataracts are not a disease, but rather a natural change in our eye’s lens. It is simply a clouding or hazing of the previously clear, natural lens. A cataract is simply the word for a cloudy or foggy lens. It is not a growth on or in the eye, nor is it a threat to your health.
The lens of the eye is located inside our eye, just behind our pupil and iris. The job of the lens is to flex and bow, in order to focus incoming light to our retina, (the inside tissue of our eye).
The first changes to our lens that we all notice is our loss of quality near vision, or difficulty when reading small print up close. This condition is called, presbyopia, and happens to everyone. Our need for drug store “cheaters” is due to the stiffening of our eyes natural lens. In our late 30’s/ early 40’s our natural lens no longer bows and flexes like it use to, thus leading to our dependence on reading glasses or “cheaters”.
As that lens becomes more stiff, it is also very slowly becoming less transparent and more cloudy. UV exposure, smoking, and a poor diet high in sugars and carbohydrates speed up this cataract forming process. To date, science has not discovered a cure to prevent cataract formation.
As the lens becomes more cloudy, we find it more difficult to drive at night or in the rain, due to glare and light scatter, caused by our clouding lens. People also note difficulty when tracking their golf ball, or increased difficulty when trying to read street signs from a reasonable distance. When reading the newspaper, people often notice the letters are not as crisp as they once were, or they may find the need for excess light in order to comfortably read.
As the clouding of the lens progresses, and the cataract becomes more dense, there may be certain lifestyle activities you find yourself avoiding or having difficulty preforming. At this stage, we consider a consultation with a cataract surgeon.