An eye cataract is a condition of the eyes occurring in older people and developing gradually.
Generally, cataract develops in humans after the 40s.
But, some medicines like steroids induce cataract formation even in youngsters.
It hinders vision and causes difficulty in day-to-day activities. We briefly read about eye cataracts, its problem, and treatment.
What is a Cataract?
The light passes through the eye's lens, which is behind the iris (the colored area of the eye). As the lens focuses, the light, the brain, and the eye work together to process the message into a picture. A cataract is a dense, cloudy area that forms on the lens. When it develops over the lens, the eye misses correctly focusing light. It leads to blurred, foggy vision or vision loss. The vision changes depend on the cataract's location and size. Cataracts can only be treated by cataract surgery.
Types of Cataracts
Cataracts are classified into different types. It is based on where and how they form in the eyes.
● The wedge shape of a cataract that forms around the nucleus edges is called a cortical cataract.
● A cataract that forms in the center of the lens and changes it to brown or yellow is called a nuclear cataract.
● Posterior capsular cataracts develop faster than cortical and nuclear cataracts. It affects the posterior of the lens.
● A cataract that develops after an eye injury is a traumatic contract. However, it takes several years to grow after an injury.
● A cataract present from birth or forms during a baby's first year is called a congenital cataract. It is a rare case.
● A cataract that develops after radiation treatment is called a radiation contract.
● A cataract is developed by medications or a disease called secondary cataract. Glaucoma and diabetes have a high risk of developing cataracts. The usage of steroids like prednisone and other medicines might sometime form cataracts. Phenothiazine is used to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, which tend developing cataracts.
● Cloudy, foggy vision
● Light sensitivity
● Glare, especially at night drive
● Double vision and sudden nearsightedness
● Poor night vision
● Making changes when seeing colors
When you walk into your doctor with a blurred eye or some vision changes, he will perform a detailed eye checkup for cataracts and other problems, thus assessing your vision.
Your vision will be checked with an eye chart test, and eye pressure will be measured with Tonometry.
In Tonometry, a painless air puff is produced on the eye to flatten the cornea to test your eye pressure. The doctor sometimes dilates your eyes with drops to make your pupils bigger. It makes him check the optic nerve and retina easier at the back of your eye for damage.
Your doctor may also test your sensitivity to glare and perception of colors.
How is a cataract treated?
Once you have a cataract in the lens of your eyes, your vision will be foggy until your go for cataract surgery. In the early stages of cataracts, glasses, and improved lighting will help you to improve your vision. If a cataract is disturbing your routine activities, your ophthalmologist may suggest surgery.
Generally, in cataract surgery, the surgeon will remove the clouded lens and replace it with an artificial lens. The new lens will be apparent, shaped to fit your eye, and customized to your visual needs. It is performed under local anesthetic eye drops, which numbs your eye. The procedure takes half an hour. Throughout the procedure, you will be awake and never experience any pain or discomfort.
Different types of cataract surgery
1. Phacoemulsification cataract surgery
It is the most common procedure for cataract surgery. The ophthalmologist will make a tiny opening in the eye and reach the clouded lens. The lens will be broken up into pieces using ultrasound or a laser. Then the surgeon sucks the lens fragments from the eye and keeps a new clear plastic lens. It is a secure and pain-free method.
2. Extracapsular cataract surgery
Your surgeon will recommend this procedure if you are not fit for Phacoemulsification cataract surgery. In Extracapsular cataract surgery, the surgeon makes a more significant cut in the eye. He removes the lens instead of breaking it. Finally, he places the new lens. This is a suitable procedure for very dense growth cataracts, which cannot be removed by breaking.
What can be expected after the surgery?
After surgery, the following symptoms will be there for a day or two:
● Mild discomfort
● Watery eyes
● Blurry vision
● Itching & reddishness
● Light sensitivity
After cataract surgery, you should follow the instructions and medicines prescribed by your surgeon. In case of any unusual discomfort or continuous discharge from the eye, contact your surgeon immediately.
Having a healthy vision is highly necessary to perform day-to-day activities. A cataract makes the vision blurry and thus requires treatment. Cataract surgery in the early day's involved procedures that required larger incisions to emulsify or remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a new one. But today, with technological advancements, surgeons can carry out cataract surgery with smaller incisions and more precision. These surgeries, thus, are considered safe procedures and are benefiting numerous lives across the globe.