It's unfortunate, but as people age various part of the body tend to "slow down" a bit and don't work as well as they used to. This is particularly the case when it comes to your eyesight. Most people will need reading glasses as they get older, but in many people an additional issue will develop in the form of a cataract. If you've been told that you have one of these forming, you may want to know what it's all about and what you can do.
The cataract is something that tends to develop with advanced age in the majority of the population, although they can develop at any time in certain individuals. They affect the lens of the eye, which starts to deteriorate and this process is irreversible. The lens focuses any images onto the retina, which in turn will convert the signal into impulses which travel along the optic nerve to the brain to register what you're seeing. When the lens starts to become cloudy it can definitely affect how sharp the image is and what your brain is able to convert.
The natural lens is made mostly from water and protein, is a very flexible object and sensitive to light and ultraviolet rays. It will work perfectly well in the majority of cases in younger years, allowing any light to pass through easily. It will have maximum flexibility and be able to change its shape automatically, so that you're able to focus on things which are very close to you or far away, without any delay.
However, as time goes by the protein will starts to clump together and cause "harder" patches. This will then coagulate and cause a condition which is similar to a cloud, right in the middle of the lens. This is the cataract and once this process starts it generally continues slowly but resolutely, until you have great difficulty in seeing anything clearly.
Are You at Risk?
Some people are more at risk of developing the situation than others, especially if they smoke or suffer with diabetes. Getting treatment or quitting the habit may help, but a great deal of the population will suffer from this condition as they get to their advanced years.
What You Need to Do
An optician or optometrist will be able to tell you if you have a cataract and it may be necessary for you to have special eyedrops to dilate your pupils for them to have a close look. They may advise that you just wait until it gets to a more advanced stage, but ultimately you'll need to have it removed and replaced with an artificial version. The good news is that these procedures are extremely effective and usually provide the patient with an improvement in their vision.