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Slit lamp view of cataract in human eye. Courttesy Wikimedia

Slit lamp view of cataract in human eye. Courtesy Wikimedia

What Are Cataracts?

Cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens in an affected eye characterized by blurred vision and progressive blindness due to loss of the len’s ability to focus light rays on the retina. Cataracts can occur in either or both eyes.

Q: How does a cataract form?

A: The lens is a transparent, colorless, oval-like structure of the eye made of mostly water and protein. The protein is arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens clear and lets light coming through the pupil to pass through it to reach the retina where it is recorded. Once an image reaches the retina, it is changed into nerve signals that are sent to the brain.1

In each eye, the lens is enclosed in a capsule that is held in place directly behind the pupil by the ciliary body and the suspensory ligaments. The lens consists primarily of lens fibers that at the periphery are soft, forming the cortis lentis, and in the center are of a harder consistency, forming the nucleus lentis. Beneath the capsule on the front surface is a layer of cells, the lens epithelium. The shape of the lens is changed by the ciliary muscle to focus light rays onto the retina.2

A cataract begins to form when some of the protein clumps together and starts to cloud a small area of the lens. Over time, the cataract may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it harder to see.3

A cataract is diagnosed by an ophthalmologist, who is a medical doctor specializing in the treatment of eye conditions. The eye examination involves viewing the anterior (front) of the eye by means of a slit lamp microscope. This instrument allows detailed observation of the lens and its supporting structures.

What Are Cataracts In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?


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  1. Tabers Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. 19th ed. FA Davis Company, Philadelphia, PA. []
  2. Tabers Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary.C 19th ed. FA Davis Company, Philadelphia, PA. []
  3. []