What is Cataract?

Cataract is one of the most common diseases of the eye that affects a sizable section of the world’s population. Although most cataracts appear in patients above 40 years of age, paediatric cataract is not a rare phenomenon either. So what exactly is cataract and how does it affect the eyes? 

Here’s all the information you’ll need. Cataract is a disease that affects the lens of the eye. The human lens, like the lens of a camera, focusses light on the retina (the camera film). Typically, the human lens contains soluble proteins and water that are arranged in a specific pattern to give the lens its transparent nature. It is this transparency that enables light to pass through and focus on the retina, to be picked up by the optic nerve to form an image of what you see. As we grow old, the proteins start clumping together and clouding the lens, and this is called Cataract. Besides ageing, a cataract can also develop due to exposure to UV rays, injury, prolonged use of certain medications etc.

Did you know?

In earlier days, cataract was considered as a wrath of the Gods and seemed to have a direct connection with one’s karma. In fact, there are quite a few African countries that still believe so and engage in age-old and unsafe practices like couching to remove the cataract.

Cataract prevention– myth or magic?

Prevention of cataract is an arguable subject. While there’s no concrete proof on what could reduce the risk of cataract, there’s no harm in practising a healthy lifestyle that includes a diet rich in nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids along with some exercise and ample sleep. If not reducing the risk of cataract, there’s a good chance that your quality of life will be greatly improved with these minor inclusions in your routine.