Cataract is an eye problem that is characterized by the clouding of the lens of the eye. This write-up provides information on the treatment options for this eye condition.
Cataract is an eye condition wherein the vision gets affected due to the clouding of the natural transparent lens that is present in the eyes. The natural lens of the eye is positioned behind the iris. It performs the vital task of focusing light on the retina at the back of the eye. It is at the retina that the image is formed and light impulses are converted into electrical signals. These signals are interpreted by the brain and this is how we see the world around us. When the transparent eye lens becomes opaque, light cannot be transmitted to the retina. This causes vision-related problems. Cataract not only obscures or distorts the vision, it could also lead to impairment of vision in the absence of treatment. Thus, it should be diagnosed and treated at the earliest.
The eye lens mainly contains water and certain proteins. These proteins are necessary for maintaining the clarity of vision, which is why a change in the structure of the lens causes the lens to become cloudy. The clouding of the lens might be observed in people who are in the age group of 50-60 years, however, it could sometimes develop at an earlier age.
In rare cases, it might be a congenital defect. Trauma to the eye, inflammation, excessive exposure to the sun or any type of radiation, medical conditions such as diabetes, smoking, alcoholism, or long-term use of certain medications can also make one susceptible.
This condition could affect one or both eyes. The symptoms include:
☞ Blurred vision
☞ Poor night vision
☞ Formation of a white spot on the pupil
☞ Dulled color vision
☞ Increased sensitivity to bright light
☞ Seeing halos around bright lights
☞ Eye strain when reading
Though cataract develops at a slow rate in case of middle-aged individuals and the elderly, it might sometimes grow at a fast pace. It is therefore essential that one goes for regular eye checkups. Snellen test, glare test, and contrast sensitivity test are some of the diagnostic tests that are generally conducted.
This condition can be treated with a surgery. In some cases, a small incision surgery might be performed under the influence of anesthesia. After the administration of the anesthetic, a tiny incision is made on the surface of the eye or around the cornea. After that, the natural crystalline lens is removed using phacoemulsification technique. Phacoemulsification involves the use of ultrasound waves for softening up the lens core. The lens is then suctioned out. This is followed by the placement of an artificial intraocular lens in the eye.
Besides phacoemulsification, extracapsular surgery and intracapsular surgery are other procedures that are used for the surgical removal of the cloudy lens. Extracapsular surgery is performed when the lens has become too dense and the ultrasound waves cannot really dissolve it into fragments. A large incision is then made, so that the entire lens can be removed. In case of an intracapsular surgery, the incision is bigger, as the cloudy lens and the surrounding capsule are removed. However, this procedure is performed rarely. These days, doctors are also resorting to laser treatment, wherein laser beams are used for making incisions and breaking and removing the cloudy lens.
The patient is likely to experience some discomfort and increased sensitivity to light after the surgery. After the surgery, the patient is required to administer eye drops for speeding up the healing process and lowering the risk of an infection. Under normal circumstances, one may take two to three months to recover from the surgery, but the recovery time could also vary depending on the type of surgery. Blurred vision and retinal detachment are some of the complications associated with this surgery. After the surgery, protect your eyes from harsh sunlight by wearing sunglasses or broad-rimmed hats. Make sure that you follow all the aftercare instructions recommended by the surgeon.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of an ophthalmologist.