What is a cataract? A cataract is a cloudy or opaque area in the normally
transparent lens of the eye. Its effect on vision depends on the extent of the cloudiness.
Small spots in the lens may cause little or no vision loss. As the opacity thickens, it
prevents light rays from passing through the lens and focusing on the retina, the light
sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. Early lens changes or opacities may not disturb
vision. But as the lens continues to change, several specific symptoms including blurred
vision; sensitivity to light and glare; increased nearsightedness; or distorted images in
either eye, may develop. Cataracts are usually associated with aging. As a person grows
older, the lens becomes less flexible and loses some of its ability to focus light onto the
retina. As the lens becomes harder, it tends to develop cataracts. Cataracts can eventually
become milky white and fill the lens. The patient is then considered blind. Doctors do not
know how to prevent or cure most types of cataracts. But surgery to remove the diseased
lens can improve vision for most cataract patients. After such surgery, some patients.
After such surgery, some patients must wear strong glasses or contact lenses to see well
enough to carry on normal activities. In most cases, however, surgeons replace the
diseased lens with a plastic intraocular lens. A patient who receives an intraocular lens
may or may not need glasses or contact lenses to see well.
Physiology Of A Normal System
The eye normally consist of a lens that is located behind the iris, the colored
portion of the eye, and the pupil, the dark center of the eye. Tiny ligaments, called
zonules, support the lens capsule within the eye (American Academy of Ophthalmology,
10). The lens has three parts, the capsule, the nucleus, and the cortex. The outer
membrane, or capsule, surrounds the cortex which in turn surrounds the center or nucleus of the lens. If you imagine the lens as a piece of fruit, the capsule is the skin, the cortex is
the fleshy fruit, and the nucleus is the pit (American Academy of Ophthalmology, 10).
There are various ways to help prevent cataracts, but it has been found that if
people would "watch their weight they might see." Evidence shows that what the scale
says really can affect a persons future. This time, research suggests that lower weights
could mean clearer vision (Wilson, 1996, 28). When scientist studied the eyes of 17, 764
men for five years, they saw that the guys who were the heaviest were nearly twice as
likely to get cataracts as were the lightest guys (Archives of Opthalmology, September,
1995). So considering that cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world,
cutting risks in half is a big deal (Wilson, 1996). For now, it's a smart thing to eat a diet
that will keep you at a disease fighting trim weight so that the good normal eye can stay