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What is a cataract?


Dr. Cummings explains

02 March 17
Blog Post

Hear Dr. Cummings explain what a cataract is and how it forms:

“A cataract is when your natural lens starts clouding. Your natural lens is inside your eye, your natural lens is clear, is relaxed when you’re looking far, and it changes shape when you’re looking up close, and as we get older we lose this ability to change shape and that’s when people get reading glasses, but the lens continues to grow. That’s one of the reasons that this happens, but as the lens continues to grow, more and more fibres pack into the lens, so the lens becomes more dense and it becomes less clear. The best analogy is, mainly because the lens is the most protein-rich part of your body (there are more proteins in your lens than in muscle). The best way to think about this is thinking of an egg; if you’re frying an egg and you break the egg up in the pan, you can clearly see the yolk, and around the yolk you can very clearly see the bottom of the pan, and as the egg starts frying, the clear material starts becoming cloudy, it goes white eventually, and if you fry it for too long it goes black. Exactly the same with your lens. As the lens starts becoming more cloudy and the proteins are coagulating, they become less clear, and then you have a cataract. It comes from the Latin word that means “waterfall”. The first person who described this and called it a cataract, said it’s like standing in a waterfall and looking out through the waterfall. That’s how my vision feels – it’s blurred.”