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Seeing clouds! How to prolong the inevitability of cataract development.

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

Seeing clouds in the sky would be normal on an overcast day, but what if it were sunny and your vision was still cloudy?

What is cataracts?

This is likely the early signs of cataract onset, an optical pathology that involves the opacification (cloudiness) of the human lens. This increased cloudiness of the lens interferes with light reaching our retina, resulting in the production of unfocused and/or blurred vision.

These clouds which develop in the lens are the result and formation of protein aggregates - proteins that have undergone some sort of chemical modification, causing them to become “sticky” and clump together.

How do we treat cataracts?

Currently, the only treatment for developed cataracts is surgery.

Ophthalmologists aspirate the protein aggregates in the lens via micro-incisions - this often results in partial blindness during recovery.

Am I safe from cataracts?

Unfortunately, everyone will develop cataracts if they live to the age that onset begins. This is why some people will and can develop cataracts from as early as 50 years of age and others may never live to develop the pathology. 

How can we slow cataracts' development?

Some control can be put into the patients' hands, whereby the onset of the disease may be prolonged to the extent that they will never endure the onset of it. To follow are tips you can utilise to aid in the prevention of cataracts developing:

1. Wearing of sunglasses

Sounds trivial, but, wearing sunglasses which are rated to protect and prevent the passing of ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun to the eyes will help protect against cataract development.

UV light damages proteins in the eye by initiating photochemical processes which changes the proteins compositions. This includes oxidation - this results in the formation of proteins aggregates mentioned above.

2. Healthy diets rich in antioxidants

3. Quit smoking

4. Regular eye checks

So remember, seeing clouds can be fun and mesmerising, but not if the weather forecasts sunny days to come!

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