What is Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens. When the lens becomes cloudy, the light reaching the retina is blocked, and vision is affected.
Who is at risk for cataract?
Cataract is usually an old age disease. 90% of patients are over 60 years old. However, cataract can be seen in all age groups. For example, a child may be born with cataract, called congenital cataract, or develop them at an early age. Cataract may also occur in children, in young people or in middle-aged people.
What is the cause of Cataract?
Cataracts develop from a variety of reasons, including long-term ultraviolet exposure, exposure to radiation, secondary effects of diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and advanced age. Genetic factors are often a cause of congenital cataracts and positive family history may also play a role. Cataracts may also be produced by eye injury, previous eye surgery or physical trauma. But the most common type of cataract is age related.
What are the symptoms of Cataract?
Cataracts are a common cause of vision loss, but they are treatable. The symptoms of a cataract develop slowly and are painless. It is often first diagnosed during a routine eye exam. The common symptoms of cataract are painless blurring of vision, light sensitivity and colors looking faded or yellow.
Most age-related cataracts progress gradually over a period of years. Other cataracts, especially in younger people and people with diabetes, may progress rapidly over a short time. It is not possible to predict exactly how fast cataracts will develop in any given person. How quickly the cataract develops varies among individuals and may even be different between the two eyes. Cataracts don't spread from one eye to the other, but many people have cataracts in both eyes.
Does Cataract cause permanent visual loss?
There are many misconceptions about cataract. Cataract is not a film over the eye. A cataract does not spread from one eye to the other, nor is it a cause of irreversible blindness.
How is Cataract diagnosed?
By performing a thorough eye examination, an ophthalmologist can detect the presence of a cataract.
What is Cataract Treatment?
No medications or dietary supplements have been shown to prevent or cure cataracts. Wearing sunglasses that screen out ultraviolet light can slow the growth of a cataract. Cataract surgery is the only way a cataract can be removed. Improved vision is the result in most of the cases, unless there is a problem with the cornea, retina, optic nerve or other structures.
Cataract surgery can be performed when patient’s visual needs require it. If symptoms of cataract are not bothering, surgery may not be needed. In such a case, a simple change in eyeglass prescription will help. Prior the cataract surgery, the measurements are essential to determine the proper power of the intraocular lens that will be placed in the eye. During cataract surgery, the eye surgeon uses ultrasound waves to break up the cloudy lens, so the pieces can then be removed through a narrow hollow suction tube. This procedure is called phacoemulsification (PHACO). After the lens is removed, a permanent intraocular lens is implanted. Since the incision is small, no suture is needed.