What is Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens. Our
eyes’ lens is mainly made up of water and protein. The proteins are arranged in
such a way that the lens stays clean and light is able to pass through. As we
grow older, some of these proteins may clump together and start to cloud a small
area of the lens. This is a cataract, which over time may grow larger and cloud
more of the lens, making it harder to see. Cataracts typically progress slowly,
causing gradual loss of vision. If left untreated, cataracts may result in
There are various types of cataracts but all have in common
that they affect the transparency of the eye’s lens. The more cloudy the lens,
the more advanced the degree of cataract.
Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of
40 and is the principal cause of blindness in the world.
aids for cataract.
Normal vision vs. Cataract
What are the symptoms of Cataracts
Symptoms of a cataract include:
- blurred vision
- sensitivity to sunlight or bright lights
- lack of brightness in colours
- increased nearsightedness
- seeing “halos” around lights
- frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescriptio
What to expect from Cataracts
Cataracts can occur in one or both eyes. When symptoms
appear, you may be able to improve your vision using new glasses, magnification,
appropriate lighting or other visual aids. As the cataract progresses, you may
consider cataract surgery, which removes the clouded natural eye lens and
replaces it with an artificial lens. Cataract surgery is very successful in
restoring vision. Discuss your situation and options with your eye care
professional to determine what the best options are.
More information about Cataracts
There is extensive information available about cataract. The
information included is intended to inform you about the basics of this eye
condition, and is not intended as a replacement for information from your
physician or eye specialist. Information regarding assistive devices
that can help you if you have been diagnosed with cataract is
included. Our recommendations can be found under
Living with Cataract
Hearing that your sight is affected by cataract may turn
your world upside down. When the initial emotions subside, you may be comforted
by the knowledge that you are not alone.
There are many people in your situation, some that have also just been
diagnosed and some that have been living with cataract for years. Below is a
story of how Len Leone has coped with cataract and is able to lead a productive
and independent life.
Len Leone depends on his vision, but the talented painter and illustrator of
book covers for Jaws, The Exorcist, Catcher in the Rye and Valley of the Dolls
ran into unfortunate problems. First an embolism caused him to lose most of the
vision in one eye, and then routine cataract surgery went terribly wrong.
Instead of correcting his vision, it left Leone blind in his “good” eye.
“I was so depressed,” recalls the 77-year-old New York state resident. But at
The Lighthouse, an organization in New York City dedicated to assisting
individuals with impaired vision, Leone tried out the available technology,
including the Spectrum video magnifier (the ClearView’s predecessor), which he
decided to purchase. While the unit sat in his studio unused for some time,
Leone realized he needed to go on painting. “The next thing I knew, I was using
the machine to paint,” he says. “My wife thinks the new work is some of the best
ever.” A one-man show at the Society of Illustrators in New York followed, as
have invitations for other exhibitions of his work. “This machine has become my
eyes,” says Leone, whose early career included working on comics such as Captain
Marvel and Captain Midnight and serving as graphic designer for True magazine.
“Not only have I continued painting and illustrating, but I’ve written a novel.
After the pages come out of the printer, I use the video magnifier to review the
Leone showed his appreciation to Optelec by donating several of his
paintings, which are on display at the company’s corporate office. And he
recently upgraded to a ClearView+ unit. “This technology is so important,” says
Len Leone, New York
Many people with cataract continue to do the activities they
always did. You may benefit from new glasses or lenses, magnification or
appropriate lighting. When this is insufficient, you may consider having
cataract surgery to remove the cataract(s). Many people consider poor vision an
inevitable result of aging, but cataract surgery is a simple, relatively
painless procedure that can help you regain vision. Discuss your options with
your eye care professional.
If you experience low vision as a result of cataract, there are
vision devices that can assist you with those tasks that you have
difficulty with. These devices will assist you with various
visual tasks and will help you in continuing to lead an independent and full