Can Eggs Explain Cataracts?

Dr. Russel Lazarus, August 5, 2021

What do an egg and a cataract have in common? Their color!

Imagine, you’re in the kitchen making breakfast. You break an egg over the edge of your frying pan, gently opening the cracked shell to let the raw egg hit the heated pan.

As the egg begins to cook, the transparent egg white starts to become cloudy, eventually turning white.

Let’s now shift our thoughts from an egg to an eye.

The lens

The lens is a nearly transparent structure suspended behind the iris of the eye. Its main purpose is to focus and direct light rays onto the retina.

The lens is made up of unique elongated cells that receive nutrition from the surrounding fluids, mostly the aqueous humour that bathes the lens’s front. These fluids are also used to eliminate waste materials.

What is a cataract?

Let’s return to the egg…like a raw egg white, a lens starts off transparent. However, as we age, protein can build on the lens, turning it cloudy — like an egg white in a frying pan.

This clouding, or opacity, of the lens is a cataract.  The cloudier the lens becomes, the more difficult it is for light to get through, leading to a decline in vision.

Luckily, cataracts that impair vision can be treated with surgery, which involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with an artificial lens.

SEE RELATED: Can I Prevent Cataracts Naturally?

If you’ve noticed a clouding of the lens, contact an eye doctor near you.

Find an eye doctor near you

Cataract symptoms

Besides clouding of the lens, an untreated cataract will eventually cause:

  • Blurred vision
  • Poor night vision
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • A yellowing or dullness of colors
  • Halos, especially around headlights from oncoming cars
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass prescriptions

How to treat a cataract

The only way to treat cataracts is eye surgery. 

During cataract surgery, the clouded lens inside your eye is replaced with an artificial lens. During the surgery, a surgeon will create a tiny cut in your eye to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear plastic one.

After cataract surgery you should:

  • Experience less glare
  • See things in focus
  • Be able to look at bright lights
  • Tell the difference between colors

Can cataracts be prevented?

Unfortunately no. Most people will develop cataracts eventually.

The best approach to naturally preventing cataracts from developing is to adopt healthy lifestyle::

  • Consume foods that promote eye health
  • Stay hydrated
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol intake
  • Stop smoking
  • Wear sunglasses to block harmful UV rays
  • Maintain healthy blood sugar levels
  • Get your eyes checked regularly

If your general health changes or if you experience any vision changes, it is important to speak with an eye doctor.

LEARN MORE: Guide to Cataracts

To maintain healthy vision, contact an eye doctor near you.

One thing’s for sure, cooking eggs will never be the same again.