Cataract is a gradual clouding of the eye lens, leading to blurred or dull vision. The eye condition can however be corrected through surgery.
According to statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) website (Resnikoff et al: 2004), cataract accounts for 39.1% of global blindness, making it the largest cause of blindness worldwide.
Contributing factors which increase risk of developing cataract include:
- Prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV-B light;
- Exposure to radiation;
- Smoking and alcohol abuse;
- Diabetes, as well as obesity;
- Age - the older you get, the higher your chance of developing cataract.
Prevention and treatment
- As with many other eye conditions, the effects of cataract can be slowed down and reversed with early detection –a comprehensive eye exam is necessary at least once every two years.
- Good nutrition, in particular, eating foods rich in antioxidants, can help slow the progress of cataract.
- Wearing protection (such as sunscreen, sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat) whilst in the sun can prevent future development of cataract.
- Stop smoking.
- Surgery is the only way to treat cataract.