Cataract Interact -1

Published on Tuesday, June 9th, 2020 11:52:15 AM

Cataract Interact -1

Published on Tuesday, June 9th, 2020 11:52:15 AM

Cataract Interact

The Global community of Optometrist has earmarked the month of June as "Cataract Awareness Month" and in Nigeria, the "Cataract Awareness Week" commenced on Monday, June 1, 2020. We invite you to read as our Chief Executive Optometrist at Vista Eye Centre, Dr. Gloria Okoekhian, shares useful insights in this "Cataract Interact" series to help patients recognize who is at risk, the possible causes and what to do when there is likely case of a developing cataract.

Introduction to the Inner Workings of the Eye

The natural lens inside the eye is one of the components that work together to help focus light on the retina for us to see clearly. The retina works by converting the light that comes through the lens into signals. It sends the signals to the optic nerve, which carries them to the brain. However, the lens is largely made of water and protein. The protein is arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens clear and lets light pass through it. But as age increases, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud areas of the lens. This is a cataract, and over time, it grows and the cloudiness increases to the point when it becomes pretty difficult to see clearly.

What Causes Cataracts?

A cataract begins when proteins in the eye form clumps that prevent the lens from sending clear images to the retina. Cataract usually develops slowly and eventually interferes with your vision. It can develop in one eye or both but they usually don’t form at the same time. Cataracts are common in older people.

Although no one knows for sure why the eye's lens changes as we age thereby leading to cataracts, there is a theory of cataract formation that many cataracts are caused by oxidative changes in the human lens. This is supported by nutrition studies that show fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants may help prevent certain types of cataracts.

Also, researchers worldwide have identified factors that may cause cataracts or are associated with cataract development.

Besides advancing age, cataract risk factors include: :

  • Ultraviolet radiation
  • Overproduction of oxidants, which are oxygen molecules that have been chemically altered due to normal daily life
  • Smoking
  • Trauma
  • Diabetes
  • Prolonged use of steroids and other medications
  • Radiation therapy

Risk Factors of Cataracts

Risk factors associated with cataracts include:

  • Older age
  • Heavy intake of alcohol
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Previous eye injuries
  • Family history of cataracts
  • Too much exposure to sunlight
  • Exposure to radiation from X-rays and cancer treatments
  • Hormonal replacement therapy
  • Previous eye surgeries be continued.


Dr. Gloria Okoekhian is the Founder and Chief Executive Optometrist of Vista Eye Centre, 7a Ikorodu Road, Maryland, Lagos. She is a warm and principled professional with over 20 years of Optometry practice. She is also a serial entrepreneur with briefs in Network marketing and Real estates. When she is not busy with one of her several entrepreneurial gigs, she enjoys reading and singing.

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