What is a Cataract?

Cataract Eye Disease

A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens. The lens is part of the eye that helps focus light on the retina. The retina is a light sensitive layer of tissue lining the inner surface of the eye. The optics of the eye create an image of the visual world on the retina through the cornea and lens. The clouding caused by a cataract reduces the sharpness of images reflected in the retina resulting in blurred vision.

A cataract is caused by one of two changes in the lens: degeneration of protein or discoloration. The lens is primarily composted of water and protein. In the case of a cataract the protein degenerates in areas clouding the lens and reducing the amount of light that reaches the retina. This can start with small areas and increase in size to completely cover the lens requiring cataract surgery. In the case of discoloration the lens slowing changes to a yellow and/or brownish color. Over time this brown tint to the lens becomes more prominent making it difficult to read and identify colors such as blues, purples and blacks. Gradual discoloration of lenses does not affect the sharpness of the image. The natural wear and tear on eyes due to job requirements, lifestyle and environment are possible factors causing cataracts. Most cataracts are related to aging, usually starting after age 40. Cataracts are so common that by age 75 about 70% of people will have cataracts.

If you are concerned about cataracts, contact one of our Cataract Centers in Stockton, Tracy or Lodi for a consultation.

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