What is cataract?
Cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that normally affects vision. Cataract, the most common cause of blindness and visual impairment, is often related to ageing. Occasionally children are born with the condition, or a cataract may develop following an eye injury, or as a result of inflammation or other diseases, such glaucoma and diabetes. Sometimes, the development of cataract is linked to steroid use or it may develop after exposure to some types of radiation.
Cataract is responsible for over 51% of blindness in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. Although cataract can be easily surgically operated , in many countries access to eye care is limited. As people in the world live longer, the number of people with cataract is anticipated to grow. Cataract is also an important cause of low vision.
Prevention and treatment
There is no known prevention for the cataract. Reduction of cigarette smoking, ultraviolet light exposure may delay the development of cataract.
Prevention of blindness programme
WHO provides technical support to Member States in the development of comprehensive eye care systems to address the burden of cataract.