ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Cataract Symptoms and Treatment

Updated on February 14, 2010

A cataract is any clouding, or opacity, of the crystalline lens of the eye. The crystalline lens is a small, normally transparent body that lies directly behind the pupil and the iris, the colored portion of the eye.

Cataracts vary greatly in size. Some affect only a small portion of the lens while others involve the entire lens. Some, called punctate cataracts, are collections of many tiny dotlike opacities. Although some cataracts, called stationary cataracts, always remain the same size, many are progressive, becoming larger and larger. The rate of progression, however, is usually not rapid, and it may be many years before treatment becomes necessary.

Causes

Cataracts occur most frequently in older people and are thought to be part of the normal aging process. Almost every person over 60 has some lens opacities. Cataracts that occur earlier in life may be due to many different causes. They are sometimes due to certain diseases, such as diabetes or cholera. They may also result from eye injuries, especially if the fluid-filled chamber in front of the pupil and iris is ruptured and the escaping fluid is absorbed by the lens. A cataract may also be due to an inflammation inside the eye, a dislocation of the lens, or a retinal detachment. Congenital cataracts, those present at birth, may occur if the mother contracted measles or German measles during pregnancy.

The underlying pathological process that produces a cataract is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a chemical change in the protein of the lens. This chemical change may be caused by several factors, including heat, toxic substances, a degeneration of the lens fibers, and a change in the water content of the lens.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Because the clouding of the lens usually interferes with the passage of light rays into the eye, the person's vision is often affected. The degree of sight loss, however, is determined by the extent and location of the opacity. A small opacity located in the edge of the lens may not affect vision at all, but the same size opacity in the center of the lens reduces vision considerably, especially in bright light, when the pupil opening is small. In dim light, when the pupil is larger, the person's vision is less affected. Although some patients with cataracts occasionally complain of seeing spots, changes in color may occur only if the lens itself changes color. In some cases it has been known to become amber of brownish.

The diagnosis of a cataract is made by observing the passage of light rays through the lens to determine if the rays are being obstructed. The examination is made with an opthalmoscope or a special microscope called a slit lamp. By examining each layer of the lens, the doctor is able to determine the appearance, extent, and location of the opacity.

Treatment

There are no known treatments, drugs, or manipulations that can cure or arrest the progress of a cataract. The only definitive treatment is the surgical removal of the lens. After the operation, when the patient has fully recovered, his vision may be restored by wearing glasses that perform much of the same functions of the lens.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)