Cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye, which is usually transparent. For people who have cataracts, the vision process is extremely difficult and can be described as looking through a curtain (this is why it is often called an aging curtain). Other patients describe their vision as looking through a blurred or frozen window. Blurred vision caused by the “curtain” in the eyes can make it very difficult to perform some daily activities such as reading, driving a car (especially at night) or seeing the faces of your loved ones and friends. Cataract is a socially significant disease that needs to be diagnosed and treated in a timely manner by implantation of intraocular lenses. Unfortunately, there is no other treatment than surgery – neither frequent replacement of your glasses with a more powerful diopter nor replacement of eye contact lenses improves eyesight in cataracts. The good news is that surgery is already a routine operation that takes no more than 15 minutes per eye.
CLOUDINESS AND OPACIFICATION WHEN YOU SEE OBJECTS?
You might have seen people complaining about the above symptoms. It is the condition of the eye where the crystalline lens becomes cloudy and defects the vision is known as cataracts.
WHAT CAUSED TO DEVELOP CATARACTS?
It is caused when normal proteins in the lens start to breakdown.
The Study of the crystalline lens shows that it is a complex structure of very fine fibers with delicately balanced chemistry of
- Proteins (34%)
- Water (65%)
- The remaining 1% consisting of minerals and other substances.
If this delicate balance is disturbed by any means, the lens begins to become opaque.
Crystalline lens opacities may result from:
· Excess water in the lens
· Disturbance of the arrangement of the fibers
· Interference with the proteins in the lens
· Deposits of calcium compounds and other substances
It is also caused due to aging or injury that changes the tissue composition that makes up your eye’s lens.
- Cataracts can be congenital, acquired, traumatic or senile.
- Congenital cataracts are present at birth, and the child is, of course, blind until they are removed.
- Acquired cataracts may be caused by many diseases (such as diabetes and uveitis) or exposure to radiation, particularly X-rays, concentrated infra-red over a long period, long exposure to UV radiation, and exposure to nuclear radiation. Powerful electric shocks (such as lightning strikes or short circuits of high voltage electrical equipment through the body) can cause a cataract to develop very rapidly.
- Traumatic cataracts can be caused by a blow to the eye which sends a shock wave through the media of the eye, causing tissue damage or tears in the lens material, or by a penetrating injury such as a steel splinter or other particle which passes through the lens.
- Senile cataracts in older people occur as part of the aging process. They are rare in people under 50 but almost universally present in those over 80. Senile cataracts may develop in a few years or may take decades; some may never develop at all, remaining as small opacities in the lens throughout the life of the client.
DEVELOPED CATARACTS? WHAT COULD BE THE POSSIBLE SYMPTOMS?
- Having blurry vision
- Double vision
- sensitive to light
- Seeing bright colors as faded
- Increasing difficulty with vision at night
- Need for brighter light for reading and other activities
- Seeing “halos” around lights
- Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
- Fading or yellowing of colors
YOU ARE AT GREATER RISK TO DEVELOP CATRACTS WITH:
- Older age
- Heavy alcohol use
- High blood pressure
- Previous eye injuries
- Too much sun exposure
- Family history
WORRIED ABOUT HOW TO AVOID CATARCTS?
- Protect your eyes from UVB rays by wearing sunglasses outside
- Stop smoking
- Take antioxidants in large quantity
- Maintain a healthy weight
- keep check of other medical conditions
HAVING CLOUDINESS IN THE EYES AND WORRIED WHAT IT CAN BE?
If you are having any of these problems discussed above and you are worried about having cataracts, you should simply go for the following diagnostic techniques:
- Visual acuity test
- Slit-lamp examination
- Retinal exam
WORRIED ABOUT CATARACTS? FOLLOWING ARE THE POSSIBLE TREATMENTS:
- Start using glasses regularly prescribed by the ophthalmologist
STILL THE CONDITION IS GETTING WORST? THE ONLY POSSIBLE TREATMENT IS TO CARRY OUT SURGERY,
HOW IS THE SURGERY CARRIED OUT AND WHAT ARE IOLs?
For the cataract surgery, the effected cloudy lens of the eye is replaced by artificial one known as Intra Ocular Lens. These are of following types:
- Monofocal lens
- Toric lens
- Multifocal lens:
CATARACT SURGERY CAN BE CARRIED OUT AS:
- Phacoemulsification: A process where a small incision is made near the cornea and the cloudy lens is fragmented by the use of ultrasound waves. These fragments are then removed by the suction process.
- Extracapsular cataract surgery: In this process the lens is to dense to be fragmented so it is removed all at once by a large incision.
- Intracapsular cataract surgery: It requires much larger incision where the whole lens and effected area is removed at once.