As we age, the lens of the eye can become clouded, impairing vision. These opacities in the normally transparent lens are called cataracts, and represent the most common cause of blindness. While cataracts are a significant impairment, they can be surgically treated by removing the original lens and replacing it with a long-lasting synthetic lens.In addition to the pathological roles of oxidative stress and glycation in cataract formation, several factors are known to increase cataract risk. Many of the following risk factors are associated with increased glycation and/or oxidative stress.Age-related cataracts cause a slow, painless loss of vision typically not associated with other signs or symptoms. The first sign of cataracts is usually a significant loss in transparency in a small region of the lens. This affects one’s ability to discern the detailed contours of objects in bright light during the day or when viewing objects near bright light at night. In addition, it leads to a loss of contrast sensitivity, which is the ability to distinguish between relative differences in light intensity. Similar to a loss in contrast sensitivity is the increased incidence of glare. This occurs when cataracts begin to cause an aura around objects, and it happens most often during the daytime. Glare, which can occur in all forms of cataract, can develop anywhere on the optic lens.
In many cases of nuclear cataract formation, there is also a change in how light bends, or refracts, as it moves from outside the eye through the lens. This is termed myopic shift, and is clinically defined as a hardening of the lens that causes a change from farsightedness to nearsightedness.
As cataracts continue to progress, the severity of these initial symptoms increases. The extent of cataract progression is defined by the degree of opacity in that part of the lens and the overall state of visual acuity. Immature cataracts are determined as those occurring in lenses with significant areas of translucency. Progression to mature cataracts is marked by significant opaque structures occurring in the lens, while hyper mature cataracts are those where liquefaction of the lens structure has occurred. This final stage of cataract development results in the leakage of a milky white liquid into the lens capsule, resulting in substantial inflammation and pain:-
– Poor Nutrition
– Exposure to Ionizing Radiation
– Smoking Status and Alcohol Consumption