People who have been diagnosed with cataracts tend to ask the common questions, such as what is a cataract? Are cataracts always visible? If they are visible, are they detectable early on? In some instances, when you look in the mirror, you’ll see your pupil is milky white instead of its normal black hue. This isn’t always the case. What if we told you, you can’t always see your cataracts?

What Is a Cataract? | A Deeper Look

What Is a Cataract?

What Is a Cataract? | Are Cataracts Always Visible?

Let’s begin with the most common question: what is a cataract? In the eye, there is a natural lens that lets light pass through the retina, so optic nerves can transfer visual information to the brain. When this lens becomes cloudy, light cannot pass through as well as it should. This cloudiness is called a cataract. When you have cataracts, it feels like you’re looking through a dirty car windshield.

Since the sense in your eye fogs up when you have cataracts, you should be able to see the change when you look in the mirror, right? The cloudiness only becomes visible in the mirror when the lens has become completely opaque. By then, your vision is already very different. Early detection is the most important factor in dealing with cataracts.

Types of Cataracts


There are different types of cataracts a person can get as they grow older:

  • Nuclear Sclerotic — This is the most common type of cataract when it comes to aging. The lens begins to become yellow and hard over time. Early on, you may experience the “second sight” symptom, where your close-up vision improves temporarily.
  • Cortical — This type of cataract is characterized by a white film that starts in the periphery of the lens and works its way to the center.
  • Posterior Subcapsular — It occurs at the back of the lens. These cataracts can interfere with your ability to read and may create halo and glare effects around lights.

What Causes Cataracts?


The older you become, the more susceptible you are to cataracts. Twenty-two million Americans aged 40 and above develop some sort of cataract. While aging is the primary reason for developing cataracts, there are many other causes of the disease. Too much exposure to UV rays from the sun or from other sources can affect your eyes. Smoking is another factor. Other diseases like hypertension and diabetes can also add to the development of cataracts.

How Cataracts Can Affect You


Aside from having a blurry or foggy vision, cataracts can affect your vision in different ways. You may start seeing double. Colors won’t be as vibrant, and in some cases, your vision may have a yellow tint to it. Your night vision takes a severe hit when you develop cataracts. Because of impaired vision, you’ll need a lot of help doing everyday things like driving and reading.

 

What is a cataract? For an in-depth explanation about the eye disease, check out this video created by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and uploaded by Sonny Goel:

Are Cataracts Always Visible?

What is a cataract? It is a common eye disease involving the clouding of the lens. Are cataracts always visible? The answer is no. For this reason, it is essential to take care of the eyes regularly. It is especially important when you’re getting older. Rest your eyes after doing strenuous visual work. Go to checkups so the doctors can see if you have symptoms of cataracts that aren’t visible to you. Remember, early detection is key in making sure your eyes stay healthy.

For more from Dr. Kondrot, check out his podcast on Reversing Cataracts – What You Need to Know Before You Commit to Laser Surgery.

Have you or a loved one ever suffered from cataracts? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below.

Up Next: How To Reverse Cataract Without Surgery?

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