Eye cataract

If you live long enough, the chances are good you will develop Eye cataract. This degenerative eye problem affects more than 90 percent of people over age sixty-five. In fact, it is the leading cause of blindness in the United States.

Eye cataract occur when the crystalline lens of the eye grows cloudy or opaque. The lens, located behind the pupil and the iris, connects to the muscles surrounding the eye and flexes and bends as the eye focuses. As the eye ages, the lens gradually increases in size, weight, and density. Eye cataract form when the eye loses the ability to maintain appropriate concentrations of sodium, potassium, and calcium within the lens, affecting vision. If your lens were a window, a cataract could seem like either a spot or a film of steam clouding the glass and obscuring your vision.

In most cases, the mineral imbalance in the lens stems from damage caused by free radicals, due to exposure to ultraviolet light or low-level radiation from x-rays. Eye cataract can also be caused by disease, particularly diabetes, injury to the eye, a congenital defect, the use of certain steroids, or exposure to German measles during fetal development.

Eye cataractEye cataract don't always behave in a predictable manner. They can develop quickly or slowly; they can affect one eye or both; they can progress at different rates from one eye to the other. Cataracts aren't obvious in the early stages without the use of special instruments (the whitish film on the surface of the eye doesn't show up until the cataracts are quite severe), so regular eye exams are essential.

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