Normally light enters the eye from the front, passing through a clear lens, and then reaches the back of the eye so you can see. When you have Cataracts, the lens becomes cloudy like frosted glass and light cannot pass through causing you visual impairment.
Signs that you may have Cataracts will involve blurry or misty sight, double vision, changes to colours i.e faded or washed out appearance.
Cataracts occur as people get older. It is much more common if you smoke, if you have hypertension, or if you have diabetes or if someone in your family has had Cataracts.Steroid tablets may help to cause cataracts if given at a high dose or for a long time. There are many other causes, including other types of eye disease and eye injury.
In the UK smoking contributes to 25% of cataracts, 17% in Denmark. Some smokers may have not have developed cataracts otherwise, and in other people they may have become denser because of the smoking (increasing the risk 2-4 times). Passive smoking will contribute significantly.
Diabetes similarly contributes to 25% of the UK’s cataracts. Recent research has shown that dietary factors such as high cholesterol and low levels of lutein and zeaxanthin (in vegetables and fruit) are found in cataract patients. This indicates that a healthy diet will help substantially to prevent cataracts.