What is a cataract?
A cataract is an eye disease in which the clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy or opaque, causing loss of vision. Most cataracts develop slowly over time and cause symptoms such as blurred vision. Cataract surgery is surgically removed using a procedure that restores vision in almost everyone.
The lens is a part of the eye that is usually transparent. It is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that focuses the light rays that enter the eye onto the retina. To obtain a clear image of the retina, the retina must be clear and transparent to parts of the eye, including the lens.
When the eye disease clouds over the lens, your eye does not focus light in the same way. This can cause blurred vision or other vision loss (trouble seeing). Your change in vision depends on the position and size of the eye disease.
Who gets cataracts?
A cataract is a fact of life and can develop at any age. If we live longer, we will all have cataracts. Most 40-year-olds show an early indication of the browning of their lens. It becomes a little denser between the ages of 50 and 60 and 70. Since the lens cloud is thick enough to leave the place where it interferes with daily activities, it is time to consider cataract surgery. Until then, the browning of the lens will not harm the eye.
The decision about the obstacle to your normal daily activities is made completely. Initially, the disease affects not only night driving or fine details, but over time it becomes darker and makes the decision for this eye disease surgery more important.
Types of cataracts
Types of cataracts include:
- Subcapsular cataract: It occurs on the back of the lens. People with diabetes or those taking high doses of steroids have a higher risk of developing subcapsular cataracts.
- Nuclear cataract: This type forms in the center of the lens, often darkening as it spreads, leading to blurred, blurred, or yellow vision.
- Cortical cataract: It is characterized by white, wedge-like opacities that begin at the edge of the lens and work toward the center in a spoken pattern. This typically happens in the lens cortex, which is part of the lens that encloses the central nucleus.
- Lamellar cataract: It occurs in the layers between the nuclear and cortical parts of the lens, creating striations.
- Anterior polar cataract: It is the point near the midpoint on the front of the lens, which eventually expands.
Causes of cataracts
A cataract is a regular clouding of the lens of the eye. Common in all countries, cultures, and groups of people, cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in people over 55 years of age. Nobody likes this fact, but this eye disease is a natural part of the aging process.
In general, oxidative stress caused by radiation from the sun and harmful chemicals in our environment is called free radicals.
- Having parents, brothers, sisters, or other family members who have this eye disease
- Having some medical problems, such as diabetes
- Having had an eye injury, eye surgery, or radiation therapies on your upper body
- Having consumed a lot of time in the sun, particularly without sunglasses that protect your eyes from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays
- Using some medications such as corticosteroids, which may affect the early formation of cataracts.
Risk factors for cataracts
Risk factors associated with cataracts include:
- Older age
- Heavy alcohol use
- High blood pressure
- Previous eye injuries
- A family history of cataracts
- Too much sun exposure
- Exposure to radiation from X-rays and cancer treatments
Symptoms of cataracts
Symptoms of cataracts can include:
- Cloudy, blurry, fuzzy, foggy, or filmy vision
- Noticeable cloudiness in the pupil
- Irritation to light or glare from lights, eg: From headlights when riding at night
- A reduction in distance vision but a change in near vision
- Double vision (diplopia) or halos around lights
- Frequent changes in eye prescriptions
- Colors look faded or yellowish
- Poor vision at night
- Needing brighter light for reading and other close-up tasks
Diagnosis of cataracts
If you have cataract symptoms, see an ophthalmologist for a complete exam. The doctor must allow her student to see the inside of her eye. During this test, special eye drops expand the pupil (the black part of the eye). When the student is fully open, their doctor will monitor their eye health. Your doctor can see if you have this eye disease or other problems and find out how much your vision is blocked.
The eye specialist will carry out tests.
These may include:
- Visual acuity test, to find out how clearly a person can see an object. It involves reading a list of letters throughout the room.
- The slit lamp test uses a microscope to examine the cornea, iris, lens, and the space between the iris and the cornea.
- Tonometry measures the pressure inside the eye.
- The retinal exam is done after using eye drops to disperse the pupils.
In the retinal exam, the separation of the pupils provides a large window into the back of the eye. The specialist examines the lens for signs of this eye disease and to see how dense any clouding is.
Treatment for cataracts
Surgery is the only way to remove cataracts. Surgery works well and helps people look better. But the surgery may not be necessary or it may take months or years.
Most people with cataracts get along well with the help of cataracts, contact lenses, and other visual aids. Put your glasses or contact medicine up to date. Make sure you have sufficient lighting in your home.
The need for surgery depends on the extent of the problem causing this eye disease for daily activities, such as driving and reading. Surgery is almost always your choice (elective). It can be scheduled when convenient.
Cataracts are usually carried out in one of 2 ways:
- Small incision cataract surgery (phacoemulsification). This is the most usual kind of cataract-removal surgery. The ophthalmologist makes a small incision on the edge of the cornea. The cornea is a transparent dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye. A small probe emits ultrasound waves to break up the cloudy center of the lens. The cataract is removed by suction through the same incision.
- Extracapsular surgery. During this surgery, a long incision is made on the edge of the cornea to remove the rough center of the lens in one piece. The remaining lens is then removed by suction.
Some people need surgery. These people include children who need cataract removal and people who have cataracts after an eye injury or as a result of eye disease or other health problems.
According to data from the Nurses’ Health Study, a healthy diet rich in vitamin C and vitamin E, along with lutein and zeaxanthin, can help cataracts.
So saying yes to fresh leafy greens and no to cigarettes can help delay this eye disease formation, according to this study and others.
Does this mean that eating a lot of kale will completely reverse existing cataracts? No, You still need to see your ophthalmologist. However, kale, spinach, and mustard greens can help prevent cataracts earlier.
Infection: Germs that enter the eye during surgery can lead to infection. You may feel sensitive to light or have pain, redness, and vision problems. If this happens to you, call your doctor immediately.
Swelling: Slight swelling and redness are common after surgery. If you have more than usual, you may receive eye drops or other medicine for your care.
Retinal detachment: The retina rests on the eye, absorbs light, and sends messages to the brain. After surgery, it is a little more likely to separate it from the back of the eye, a problem is known as retinal detachment.
Inflammation in the cornea: The cornea is the clear front part of the eye. It can swell and become cloudy after surgery, making it difficult to see.
Bleeding: This is very rare, but through surgery, the blood vessels that provide the retina may start to bleed for no apparent reason. A little blood is not a problem, but a large amount can cause vision loss.
Departments to consult for this condition
- Department of Ophthalmology