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Cataracts – all you need to know

Cataracts – all you need to know

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision, most related to ageing. Some studies estimate that cataracts are responsible for 51% of the global blindness – approximately 20 million people.

Cataracts occur when there is a buildup of protein in the lens of the eye. This prevents light from passing through clearly, causing loss of vision. Since new lens cells form on the outside of the lens, all the older cells are compacted into the centre of the lens, causing a cataract.

Early symptoms of cataracts may cause a glare – either too dim or too bright. You could also find it difficult to read or drive, especially at night. These symptoms could be improved with spectacles, brighter lighting, anti-aging sunglasses or magnifying lenses. If these options to do help, surgery is your last option. Surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens.

Aside from age, other risk factors include:

– Intense heat or long-term exposure to the sun’s UV rays

– Diabetes

– Obesity

– High blood pressure

– Inflammation in the eye

– Hereditary influences

– Long-term steroid use

– Eye injuries

– Smoking

If you have any indications that cataracts or other conditions may be affecting your vision, visit your doctor or optometrist immediately.


– Visit an optometrist or doctor regularly and don’t ignore problems with your eyes. This way you can detect and treat eye conditions early.

– Wear protective eyewear when working with equipment that may cause damage or scratches and can lead to infection or damage.

– Wear sunglasses that give your eyes proper protection from the damaging rays of the sun.

– Take regular breaks from your computer screen to minimise eyestrain and the development of eye-focusing problems.