A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye. This clouding of the eye prevents light rays from entering the lens and focusing on the retina. The retina is a light-sensitive tissue lining of the eye and is located at the back of the eye. This cloudiness occurs when some of the proteins from the eye's lens start to alter their shape and obstruct the vision.
A cataract may not be a problem in its early stages and the cloudiness may only impact a small portion of the lens. However, the cataract may enlarge and harm more of the lens over time; thus making it difficult to see. When less light penetrates the retina, it becomes even more difficult to see and the eyesight may become hazy and blurry. Cataracts do not spread from one eye to another, but many people get cataracts in both the eyes.
Types of Cataract
Following are the types of Cataracts:
- Intumescent Cataract
- Cortical Cataract
- Posterior Subcapsular Cataract
- Nuclear Cataract
- Rosette Cataract
- Traumatic Cataract
The symptoms of cataract include:
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Blurry vision
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Seeing colours as faded
- Double vision in the affected eye
- Seeing halos surrounding lights
- Trouble seeing with eyeglasses or contact lenses
When to see a doctor?
If you detect any changes in your eyesight, get an eye test. Consult your doctor immediately if you have unexpected visual changes, such as double vision or flashes of light, as well as acute eye discomfort or headache.Get the best treatment for Cataracts from our Ophthalmologist at Medicover Hospitals.
Usually, cataracts occur when injury or ageing changes the tissue that makes up the lens of the eye’s. Fibres and proteins in the lens start to break down, resulting in vision becoming hazy or cloudy. The underlying causes of cataracts are as follows:
The possible risk factors include:
Cataracts are more likely to develop in people over the age of 60.
A family history of certain medical disorders might raise the chance of developing cataracts.
Diabetes is one of the most common risk factors for cataracts and many other eye problems. Diabetes is, in fact, the most common cause of vision loss in men and women aged 20 to 74.
Cataracts are more common in people with eye injuries or trauma. This happens as a result of blunt force trauma that can damage the ocular lens fibres.
Too much sun exposure:
People who spend more time in the sun are more likely to get cataracts.
Some of the cataract complications are:
- Increase in eye pressure
- Dryness and itching
- Allergic reactions
- Corneal edema
- Suprachoroidal hemorrhage
- Endophthalmitis (rare)
- Iris prolapse (rare)
As doctors still don't know what causes cataracts, there is no proven way to avoid them. However, it is essential to examine your eyes regularly because cataracts and other conditions such as glaucoma are common in older adults. If you have a history of eye problems or other illnesses, such as diabetes, it increases the risk of eye diseases. Few prevention techniques are listed below:
Regular eye exams:
Eye exams can aid in the early detection of cataracts and other eye issues. Talk with your doctor about how often you should have your eyes examined.
Consult the doctor for advice on how to quit smoking. One can get help from medications, counselling, and other methods.
Manage other health problems:
If you have diabetes or another medical condition which increases your risk of cataracts, continue the treatment plan.
Choose a nutritious diet rich in fruits and vegetables:
Include various colourful fruits and vegetables in the diet that provide you with a broad range of vitamins and minerals and help to keep your eyes healthy.
Sunlight's ultraviolet rays may lead to the formation of cataracts. If you're outside, use sunglasses that block ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.
Reduce alcohol consumption:
Excessive alcohol use might increase the risk of cataracts
To determine if you have cataracts, your doctor will want to know all about your symptoms. They’ll look closely at your eyes and may do some tests, including:
Visual acuity test:
This is a fancy way of stating "eye chart exam." To determine how clear the eyesight is, the doctor will have patients read letters from a distance. One will start with one eye and then the other. They may then do a glare test, in which they beam a bright light into the eye and ask you to read the letters.
This test employs a special microscope with a bright light that allows the doctor to examine various parts of the eye. They will examine the cornea, the transparent outer layer of the eye. They'll also look at the iris, which is the coloured component of the eye, as well as the lens that lies behind it. The lens bends light as it enters the eye, allowing patients to see clearly.
The doctor will administer drops in the eyes to dilate the pupils, that determine how much light enters. This allows them to better look at the retina, the tissues at the back of the eyes, and a clearer picture of the cataract.
It is a test that determines the fluid pressure in the eye. There are several devices and ways to accomplish this.
Cataract surgery is the only method to treat cataracts, but patients may not need it right away. One may be able to get by with a new prescription for the glasses if you discover the problem early. A stronger lens might improve overall eyesight temporarily.
Consider using a brighter lamp or a magnifying glass while reading. If glare bothers you, check out special glasses with an anti-glare coating. They can be useful when driving at night.
Keep a close watch on how cataracts affect vision. When the vision problem starts to interfere with your everyday life, especially if they make driving unsafe, it's time to consult with the doctor about surgery.
When cataracts prevent someone from doing their routine activities like reading or driving, surgery is recommended. It is also used when cataracts obstruct the treatment of other eye disorders.
Phacoemulsification is a surgical technique that uses ultrasonic waves to break the lens apart and remove the fragments.
The clouded section of the lens is removed through a large incision in the cornea during extracapsular surgery. Following surgery, an artificial intraocular lens is implanted in place of the natural lens.
Cataract removal surgery is generally very safe and has a high success rate. Infection, haemorrhage, and retinal detachment are all dangers with cataract surgery, while the occurrences of all these issues are less than 1%. Most people can return home on the same day of their procedure.
Lifestyle Changes and Self Care
Here are some lifestyle adjustments patients can make to keep their eyes healthy and avoid future cataracts and corrective eye surgery.
Smoking is harmful to the overall health, especially to your lungs and eyes. Regular smokers are three times more likely than nonsmokers to develop cataracts by age 40.
Stay out of the sun:
Avoiding sun is vital for preventing sunburn and also effective in protecting the eyes from UV rays. When your eyes are directly exposed to UV radiation, certain proteins in the eyes can get damaged and may lead to cataracts. This is one of the many reasons why looking straight at the sun during an eclipse or at any other time is harmful.
Minimise the usage of steroid medications:
If necessary, reduce the number of steroid medications. Corticosteroids can help decrease inflammation in those who require them. Long-term usage of some steroids, either orally or through eye drops, has been linked to an increased risk of cataract formation.
Good ocular hygiene:
When we have an itch or are adjusting our contact lens, it is common to start rubbing around the eye area. On the other hand, our eyes are extremely delicate and must be treated with extreme caution at all times. To protect your eyes from irritants, always wash your hands before touching them and wash the eyes with water.
Dos and Don’ts
The development of a cataract is a common cause of vision loss. Fortunately, cataract surgery is a common and painless procedure. By replacing the natural (clouded) lens with an artificial one, patients will have improved eyesight without the danger of future cataracts. Because the operation is short and painless, the recovery time is surprisingly quick. Still, the healing process must be completed, and vision may fluctuate slightly during the first few weeks before it becomes fully stable. In about a month, the eye should have completely recovered following cataract surgery. However, here are some dos and don'ts to remember during this time.
|Use eye drops as per the doctor's instructions.||Rub your eye or apply anything to your eyes.|
|Wear a protective eye cap at night for a week.||Take a shower bath for the first ten days after surgery.|
|Take the medications prescribed by the doctor.||Drive until your doctor says so.|
|Wear sunglasses when you are outdoors.||Touch your eyes without washing your hands.|
|Avoid dusty, gritty, or sandy environments.||Indulge in activities that might cause damage to your eyes.|
Precautions and self-care will help you manage the cataract’s symptoms and aid in living a healthy lifestyle.
Cataract Disease Care at Medicover Hospitals
At Medicover, we have the best Ophthalmologist and doctors who work together to deliver comprehensive Cataract disease treatment. Our highly skilled team uses cutting-edge medical equipment, diagnostic processes, and technologies to treat different eye conditions and ailments. We use a multidisciplinary approach to treat cataracts to provide patients with comprehensive care and address their medical needs simultaneously, leading to a faster and more sustainable recovery.