What is Cataract?
Cataract is one of the eye diseases in which eye lens turns opaque or cloudy, and therefore, it reduces spectrum of vision. The opaqueness of lens prevents it to focus the light on retina, thereby reducing vision of eye. As this disease advances, this cloudiness of vision also increases till the time vision is completely impaired. It is not a contagious disease.
How does it develop?
Basically cataract develops when protein buildups in the lens of eye, thereby causing opaqueness of clear lens surface which prevents the light from passingthrough the lens properly, and hence leading to reduced vision. This clouding increases with age because of the protein clump formation in eyes and as such the vision further gets worsened.
What are the risk factors of having cataract?
Different risk factors relating to cataract include ageing process which promotes the chances of having cataract.Secondly, patients who are having diabetes are also at risk of having cataract. Glaucoma, eye inflammation, eye injury are also some of the reasons which can result into cataract. Some patients are judged to have cataract due to family history and some of them are having it by birth also. In addition to this, in certain cases a long exposure to UV rays of sun, may also lead to cataract. Similarly, a very long exposure to radiation may cause cataract. Further, reasons like surgery for any other eye disease or prolonged treatment with steroid drugs may lead to cataract formation.
What are the Symptoms of cataract?
One major symptom of cataract is decreased vision, which is not corrected by wearing glasses. A person might have photophobia, and therefore, he can become more sensitive towards sunlight and then a cloudy and hazy vision might also be a problem associated with cataract. He can face problem in seeing different shapes and colors and he might not be able to properly visualize also in dim light. Sensitivity of the person towards contrasting light is decreased and as a result, he might experience difficulty in differentiating between shades and colors.
What are the different types of cataract?
A simple change in chemical composition of your eye could also result into cataract. Following are different types of cataracts:
•Senile Cataract- Most common type of cataract and occurs above the age of 50. It is the most common cause of blindness in world.
•Congenital cataract- This cataract is present since the time of birth. It is rarely found in patients.
•Traumatic cataract- This is caused due to severe eye injuries. Electric shocks, infrared radiation, ionizing radiation are other causes of it.
•Secondary cataract- Several eye diseases like glaucoma. Iritis and eye tumors could cause this type of cataract.
•Drug- induced cataract- This is common in patients who have undergone a prolonged treatment of steroids for any other disease.
Is it possible to prevent or treat cataract with medication?
Cataract is not the result of continuous usage of eyes for reading and other similar activities instead it is a result of ageing process therefore it cannot be prevented by reducing the use of eyes for reading. A number of researches have been done on cataract which suggests that there is no medication treatment which could rectify cataract. Its only treatment is the surgical removal.
How is cataract diagnosed?
It is not very difficult to diagnose cataract. It can be simply diagnosed by any ophthalmologist or an eye specialist while a routine eye checkup. In addition to this, there are various tests which are performed to clarify or to confirm presence of cataract. Visual acuity test, dilated eye exam and tonometry are three major examinations for detecting cataract. Eye specialist also checks the papillary movement and responses in order to measure pressure inside the eyes.
What are the treatments used for cataract?
People having minor cataract or whose problem has been diagnosed earlier can take help of glasses to improve their vision. For patients who have reached an advanced stage of cataract, surgery is recommended by doctors as an effective treatment option. It is a simple operation done to replace the cloudy lens of eye with an artificial lens. This operation can help patients to gain their lost or reduced vision in a very short span of time. Over several years cataract surgery has reached new heights from restorative vision to refractive surgery which can lead to reduced need of glasses.
What are the surgical techniques used to treat cataract?
Apart from the conventional surgical methods the most advanced and common surgical technique which is in practice today is phacoemulsification. It is most preferred method of treatment of cataract which is quite safe, easy and efficient way of restoring your impaired vision. It is generally a one day procedure that means patient can go back home on the same day. It involves introduction of a very small instrument inside the eye using a small incision. This instrument breaks down the cloud forming cataract into small fine pieces using ultrasound vibration and finally these small pieces are removed out. After this, an intraocular lens is placed in the eye without any stitches. It is also referred as IOL surgery and these replaced lenses are permanently placed in your eye which don not degrade with time.
What types of IOL lenses are available today?
Several types of intraocular lenses are present today which have to be placed inside your eye as per the conditions seen. Some of them are monofocal IOL, multifocal IOL, Nespro IOL, Tecnis IOL, Microincision IOL, Aberration free IOL and Accommodation IOL’s. Your doctor is the best person to judge which lens will be best suited for your eyes. All such information about which IOL lens has to be replaced in your eye can be taken before this surgical treatment.