increasingly blurred or double vision.
blurriness around lights. Vision may actually be better in dim
light, since bright light causes the pupil to constrict, restricting
the passage of light to the part of the lens most affected by
sensitivity to light and glare.
improvement in near vision (patient may no longer need reading
glasses for a brief period).
changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions.
driving at night or in bright light.
or milky white appearance of the lens in advanced cases.
When To Call Your Doctor
an ophthalmologist for any vision problems.
What Is It?
A cataract is a loss of transparency in the normally
clear lens of the eye. At first, a small, hazy spot may appear
in the field of vision. Gradually (often over a period of years),
as the lens grows more opaque, vision becomes more blurry, especially
at night or in very bright light. In the United States, about
75 percent of all people over age 60 show some signs of cataracts.
Advanced cases are easily treated with surgery (although most
patients can postpone surgery for years).
What Causes It?
Aging is the
single greatest risk factor for cataracts, as cumulative exposure
to the suns ultraviolet rays over a lifetime appears to
be a primary cause.
radiation, including x-rays and microwaves, may promote cataracts.
to or inflammation of the eye (for example, uveitis or iritis)
may lead to cataracts.
use of corticosteroid drugs, hereditary factors, and birth defects
may be contributing factors.
occur at a younger age in people with diabetes mellitus.
marked "general purpose" or "special purpose," or
those that indicate they block at least 95 percent of ultraviolet-B
by an ophthalmologist.
How To Treat It
glare outdoors, wear a wide-brimmed hat and amber-tinted sunglasses.
floor or desk lamps with incandescent bulbs instead of ceiling
or fluorescent lights. Avoid pinpoint halogen lights, which cause
the pupils to constrict. Installing dimmer controls is advised.
try large-print books and newspapers.
in 95 percent of cases) is the only cure for cataracts. It can
often be postponed indefinitely but is advised when cataracts
interfere with normal activities. During the operation the lens
is removed and replaced with a plastic intraocular lens implant.
(Special contact lenses or eyeglasses may be used when an implant
is ruled out.)
Hopkins Symptoms and Remedies, the
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