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Cataract and Aging: the Causes and Symptoms

Cataract and Aging

Cataracts, a common eye condition associated with ageing, can significantly impact one’s vision and quality of life. As we age, the risk of developing cataracts increases, making it essential to understand the causes and symptoms associated with this condition. 

In this blog, we’ll discuss cataracts and explore how ageing influences their onset and progression and the importance of frequent eye check-ups.

Understanding Cataract

Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, impairing vision. The lens, normally transparent, allows light to pass through and focus on the retina. However, with the formation of cataracts, the lens becomes opaque, leading to blurred vision and difficulty seeing clearly.

Causes of Cataract

  • Ageing

Ageing is the primary risk factor for cataracts. As we grow older, the proteins in the lens begin to break down and clump together, causing cloudiness. This gradual process is a natural part of ageing and affects nearly everyone to some extent as they grow older.

Interesting Fact: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cataracts are responsible for approximately 51% of world blindness, with age being the most significant risk factor.

  • Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, primarily from sunlight, can increase the risk of cataract formation. Prolonged exposure to UV rays without adequate eye protection can accelerate the breakdown of proteins in the lens, hastening the development of cataracts.

  • Diabetes

Diabetes, particularly uncontrolled or poorly managed diabetes, is a significant risk factor for cataracts. High blood sugar levels associated with diabetes can lead to the accumulation of sorbitol in the lens, causing cloudiness and increasing the likelihood of cataract formation.

Symptoms of Cataracts

  • Blurred Vision

One of the most common symptoms of cataracts is blurred vision, which can make it challenging to see objects clearly, especially in low-light conditions. Individuals with cataracts often describe their vision as foggy or hazy, with difficulty reading or performing tasks that require visual clarity.

  • Sensitivity to Light

Cataracts can cause increased sensitivity to light, known as photophobia. Bright lights may appear glaring or uncomfortable, leading to discomfort and difficulty adjusting to changes in lighting conditions.

  • Glare

Glare, particularly from oncoming headlights while driving at night, is a common complaint among individuals with cataracts. The cloudy lens scatters light, causing halos or starbursts around light sources, which can impair vision and pose safety risks.

  • Changes in Color Perception

Cataracts can alter colour perception, making colours appear faded or less vibrant than usual. This change in colour vision can affect the ability to distinguish between shades and may impact activities such as driving or 

  • Double Vision

In some cases, cataracts can cause double vision or seeing multiple images of a single object. This phenomenon, known as diplopia, occurs when light is scattered unevenly by the cloudy lens, leading to overlapping images.


As we navigate the journey of ageing, understanding the impact of cataracts on vision health becomes increasingly important. While ageing is the primary risk factor for cataracts, factors such as UV radiation exposure and diabetes can exacerbate their development. 

Recognizing the symptoms of cataracts, including blurred vision, sensitivity to light, glare, changes in colour perception, and double vision, is crucial for timely intervention and management. By prioritizing regular eye exams and adopting preventive measures such as wearing UV-protective sunglasses and maintaining blood sugar levels within a healthy range, we can mitigate the risk of cataracts and preserve visual clarity well into our golden years. 

Cataracts may be a natural part of ageing, but with awareness, proactive care, and advancements in eye health, we can navigate this journey with clarity and confidence.

Categories : Cataract

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