The lenses of our eyes work very similarly to that of a camera lens. They focus light onto the retina to attain clear vision. Our lenses also adjust the focus of our eyes and allow us to see things clearly both up close and far away.
Our eye lenses are made up mostly of water and protein which is arranged in a specific way so as to keep the lens clear – letting light pass through the lens. With age comes clumping though; the protein clumps and then the lens begins to cloud in a small area at a time.
The cloudy part is called a cataract. The area, the cataract, may grow larger. As it does, it clouds more and more of the lens and makes it harder for the individual afflicted with the cataract to see.
Although it happens to practically every aging person, no medical personnel can really explain why it happens although some are leaning toward the fact that cataracts are caused by oxidative changes in the human lens. Foods high in antioxidants, like some fruits and veggies, may prevent certain types of cataracts.
Research has been conducted as to the why worldwide, but only the how, the factors that can lead to cataracts or their development have come to light. Below is a list of factors that can cause cataracts to form:
- Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and other sources
- Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications
- Statin medicines used to reduce cholesterol
- Previous eye injury or inflammation
- Previous eye surgery
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Significant alcohol consumption
- High myopia
- Family history
Knowing all of this will help you, as a caretaker, show that With Age Comes Respect.