A cataract is the medical term that is used to describe a clouding of the lens in the eyes. The lens are the transparent structures in the eyes that help refract light to the retina. When the lens become clouded, the person may experience difficulty reading and driving. Cataracts have a tendency to develop very slowly, which is why a person may not notice any vision changes initially.
As this condition progresses, the person will notice that his or her vision is blurry and clouded. People may also have to get the prescription in their glasses or contacts changed frequently. If cataracts are left untreated, then they can cause blindness. In fact, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in adults who are over the age of 55. Approximately half of adults will develop cataracts by the time that they reach the age of 80.
Even though cataracts are typically diagnosed in older people, they can be diagnosed in people who are younger than 18. Studies have shown that around 0.4 percent of children will develop cataracts. Many of the children who develop cataracts will eventually need to see a cataract surgeon. Because a child’s eyes are still developing, it is riskier to perform cataract surgery on children.
The good news is that childhood cataracts and interventions of cataract surgeon can be prevented in most cases. Children need to get an eye examination every two years. Children who wear glasses will need to be seen by a doctor once a year. Regular eye examinations can detect abnormal changes in the eye. The doctor will be able to correct those problems before they can cause cataracts.
There has been evidence to suggest that the ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause a person to develop cataracts. For that reason, sun exposure should be limited during the hottest times of the day. Children should also wear sunglasses when they are spending time out in the sun.
It is important to note that cataracts are more common in people who have preexisting health conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Even though these conditions are far less common in children, a child should still be screened regularly for these conditions. If these conditions are detected early, then they are much easier to treat.
People who smoke double their risk of developing in cataracts. Even though the vast majority of children do not smoke, many of them inhale the secondhand smoke of others. Inhaling secondhand smoke is just as bad as smoking a cigarette.
Additionally, children need to eat a healthy diet. Fruits and vegetables contain the antioxidants that help keep the eyes healthy. Vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein and vitamin A are some of the key nutrients that help prevent cataracts from forming. Even though these nutrients can be taken in the form of a supplement, there has not been any evidence to suggest that supplements are as effective as a healthy diet. That is why it is best to make sure that children eat a well-balanced diet.