Cataracts are cloudy areas in the lens inside the eye - which is normally clear.
Cataracts can develop in one or both eyes. If they develop in both eyes, one will be more severely affected than the other.
A normally clear lens allows light to pass through to the back of the eye, so that the patient can see well-defined images.
If a part of the lens becomes opaque light does not pass through easily and the patient's vision becomes blurry - like looking through cloudy water or a fogged-up window.
The lens lies behind the iris and the pupil. It works much like a camera lens. It focuses light onto the retina at the back of the eye, where an image is recorded.
The lens also adjusts the eye's focus, letting us see things clearly both up close and far away.
The lens is made of mostly water and protein. The protein is arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens clear and lets light pass through it.
But as we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. This is a cataract. Over time, the cataract may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it harder to see.
Researchers suspect that there are several causes of cataract, such as smoking and diabetes. Or, it may be that the protein in the lens just changes from the wear and tear it takes over the years.
The more opaque (cloudier) the lens becomes, the worse the person's vision will be.
Age related cataracts - They appear later in life; the most common form.
Congenital cataracts (childhood cataracts) - These may be present when the baby is born, or shortly after birth. Cataracts may also be diagnosed in older babies and children - these are sometimes referred to as developmental, infantile or juvenile cataracts.
Will have all features of decreased vision as discussed earlier in children with glasses. May show white opacity in the eye. If the cataract is dense it can be seen with naked eye or else a torch light can be used to detect the same. Child with cataract may also have squint But it important to remember that not all opacities will be seen with torch light. Some small but significant cataracts are seen only with specialized ophthalmic equipment.
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