How Do Cataracts Form?

How Do Cataracts Form?

A cataract is a vision problem that involves the clouding of the lens of the eye. Eventually, a cataract can severely interfere with a patient’s vision. Fortunately, cataracts are treatable with surgery. Although a cataract will usually not require immediate treatment, it’s still a good idea to see an optometrist right away if you’ve noticed any unusual changes in your vision.

The Lens of the Eye

The lens of your eye is made of tissue that is normally transparent and flexible. Its location in the eye is directly behind the iris, which is the pigmented part of the eye. When light passes into the eye, the lens is responsible for focusing that light to produce clear images. It does this by adjusting its curved shape to focus on objects that are near or far.

The Formation of a Cataract

With age, the lens of the eye becomes gradually less capable of focusing light. It becomes less flexible and thicker. A cataract can begin to form when the tissues of the lens start to break down. These tissues can then clump together to form a cloudy area, which is the cataract. Cataracts will become denser and larger over time, causing a progressive worsening of vision. It’s common for cataracts to develop in both eyes. However, the cataract of one eye might be larger or denser than the one in the other eye.

The Risk Factors of Cataracts

Age-related changes of the lens are the most common cause of cataracts. However, there are certain risk factors that can contribute to cataract formation. These include having a family history of cataracts, or a personal history of eye injuries, eye surgery, or radiation treatments on the upper body. Sunlight exposure is another major risk factor, which is one reason why optometrists recommend wearing UV-blocking sunglasses or eye glasses.

If you’ve been experiencing some unusual symptoms with your vision, you can find high-quality care at Eyecare Specialties. Located in Steamboat Springs, CO, Eyecare Specialties is a full-service optometry practice that prides itself on delivering individualized attention. Call their office at (970) 879-2020 to request an appointment.

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