What is the difference between cataracts and macular degeneration?

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dano7744's profile pic

dano7744 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Cataract's are a condition of the eye in which the lens becomes opaque distorting vision. Common causes include aging, endocrine or metabolic disorders, protein deposits on the lens, as a side effect from tobacco use, or a side effect from certain medications such as steroids. Cataracts are a common cause of blindness in adults if left untreated but are easily treated with surgery.

Macular degeneration is a chronic progression and deterioration of the macula lutea of the retina which leads to vision loss. The macula is responsible for central vision, color vision, and fine visual detail.

Cataracts affect the lens and macular degeneration affects the retina.

sheilamorgan's profile pic

sheilamorgan | eNotes Newbie

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Cataract can affect many type of people and it appears as a stain on the lens of the eye. It can be treated with laser eye surgery or you can wear glasses or contact lenses to correct it.

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness caused by age. It affects the retina and if you have it you won't be able to see clear, you will see shapes but not perfect lines. For macular degeneration there is no treatment once the disease has started.


academic-help's profile pic

academic-help | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

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A cataract is the result of the eye lens or the portion that covers the eye lens becoming opaque. This results in a gradual loss in eye sight as light can no longer reach the retina. Though cataracts usually develop as a result of the aging process, in many cases they can affect young people also. Cataracts are treated by removing the eye lens.  

Macular degeneration on the other hand is the degeneration of the macula, which is a part of the retina and is responsible for sharp, central vision. With macular degeneration it becomes difficult for people to read or see clearly. This ailment is also a result of the aging process though researchers have found many other factors like diet, smoking, etc. affecting its severity.


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