What is Cataract?
Human eye has a clear natural lens. The lens is situated inside our eye, behind a soft tissue called iris. It can be easily seen through the central opening of the iris, called pupil. As we age, the natural lens loses its clarity, where the natural transparent lens fibers are replaced with opaque material due to oxidative stress. As a result, people with cataract will start to lose their eye sight, as if seeing through mist or clouds. If it is left untreated, it can cause blindness.
Cataract is the leading cause of blindness in the world, and aging is the commonest cause of cataract.
What causes Cataract?
There are many causes of cataract, but they can be broadly divided into congenital and acquired. Some inborn error of metabolism or hereditary disorder can cause congenital cataract but these are not common. Acquired etiologies include aging, ultra violet radiation from excessive exposure to sun (e.g: labourers) or welding sparks (e.g: metal/steel workers). Others include smoking, obesity, diabetes mellitus, eye injury, eye inflammation, eye surgery, hypertension and excessive usage of steroid based medications.