Cataracts are a scary eye disease to think about because to most people, the term means that they won't be able to see again. The reality is that there are a lot of treatment options available now for cataracts that can help to preserve vision. It helps to understand a bit about cataracts and what may put you at risk for developing them.

Types of Cataracts

All cataracts involve clouding of the lens of the eye. Proteins start building up on the lens, causing vision to slowly become more obscured. Although most people tend to think of cataracts as all the same, there are actually several different types.

  • Secondary cataracts form as a result of eye surgeries for other eye issues or because of other diseases unrelated to the eyes.
  • Congenital cataracts are a little more rare, because they tend to develop in babies.
  • Traumatic cataracts can occur after your eye is injured, such as by sun damage, although they can take years to show up.
  • Radiation cataracts are yet another type of cataract that can form after damage to the eye, this time from radiation.

Symptoms of Cataracts

While everyone responds slightly differently to cataracts, there are some common symptoms. The most obvious is clouded or blurred vision. Colors may seem less bright than they used to be, although this is so gradual that it may be more difficult to notice. Poor night vision is something else that cataract sufferers have in common, as are instances of double vision. Someone with a cataract may find some lighting to be too bright or find that there is a glare or a halo effect around lighting. The best way to determine if you or a loved one have cataracts, however, is to see an eye doctor.

Risk Factors for Cataracts

Most people believe that cataracts are a given side effect of aging. Although most cataracts do form in older adults, there are other risk factors, too. People who drank or smoke in their youth could be at greater risk for forming traumatic cataracts later in life, according to the National Eye Institute. People who have diabetes are also at greater risk for dealing with secondary cataracts. Excessive sun exposure can also damage the eyes, leading to cataracts later in life. It's important to have regular eye exams if you think you're at risk for developing cataracts so that you can make sure you deal with the situation as quickly as possible.

If you're already dealing with cataracts, it may be time to look into treatments such as advanced cataract surgery. Talk to your eye doctor today to determine the best treatment for you.

To learn more, contact a clinic like Northwest Ophthalmology