Cataracts cloud our eye lenses, making it more difficult to see clearly. This may occur when proteins build up and form a cloudy layer on the lens.
As you can probably imagine, this reduces the amount of light that can enter.
You can almost think of it as condensation forming on the lens of a camera, making it more difficult to get a clear picture.
A person with cataracts may experience problems driving at night, seeing halos around approaching headlights from other cars. This glare can also carry into the day as well with the 'foggy vision' that we mentioned.
Eye cataracts often take a while to form, which is why we associate them with older generations. However, they can develop in those as young as newborns, too.
Cataract surgery procedures
Cataract surgery may sound a bit daunting at first, but it is extremely common and can be performed as an outpatient procedure for cataracts.
You'll need to speak with an ophthalmologist (a medically trained doctor who performs surgery) about your options and recommendations.
You'll be given a local anesthetic and an ultrasound may be used to break up the cataract, so you can see clearly once again.
While it's still surgery and not a fun day at the beach, this process is usually quick and easy.
In other cases, an artificial lens may be inserted. If you have cataracts in both eyes, you can expect two surgical appointments, so that one eye can fully heal before operating on the other. Again, your ophthalmologist can advise you further on your particular needs.
Information from the Nurses' Health Study (in the USA) has shown that a healthy diet that includes plenty of vitamin C and vitamin E, along with lutein and zeaxanthin, may help with cataracts.
So, saying yes to fresh, leafy green vegetables and no to a cigarette afterwards may help slow down the formation of cataracts, according to this study and others. Does this mean eating plenty of kale will completely reverse existing cataracts? No. For that, you will still need to see your ophthalmologist. However, kale and spinach, and mustard greens may help proactively against the formation of cataracts.
If you currently have cataracts, speak to your doctor about your best course of action. He or she may recommend waiting for surgery. If not, there's no reason to put enjoying clear vision. The procedure is relatively simple and common.