Cataract

What is cataract?
The natural lens is transparent and clear, which makes sure that the light rays which enter the eye are properly focussed on to the retina. This results in a sharp image on the retina. Cataract is a condition in which the lens of your eye gets cloudy which causes decrease in vision. In India it is known as ‘Safed Motia’. The vision loss can be in one eye or in both the eyes depending upon cause of cataract.

What are the causes of cataract?
The lenses of the eyes are made mostly of water and protein. With age, some of this protein may clump together and cloud the lenses of eyes. This clouding increases over the time and cover the lens completely. Common causes of cataract are:

  • Old Age
  • Congenital cataract (by birth)
  • Injury to Eye
  • Prolonged Exposure to the Sun
  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic diseases
  • Certain medications like steroids

When are you most likely to have cataract?
Cataract usually starts at 45 to 50 years of age. This is an age related process, so after 60 years of age most of the patients will develop cataract.

What are the symptoms of a cataract?
In some case cataract develop so slowly, patient not able to detect decrease in vision in early stages. When cataract becomes significant your vision may become blurry, as if looking through a foggy window. As clouding increases, patient find difficult to perform their routine work like reading news paper or driving car.

The common symptoms of cataract are:

  • Cloudy or blurry vision
  • Colours seem faded
  • Glare from headlight of vehicle and sunlight
  • Poor night vision
  • Double vision

How many different types of cataract are?
The different types of cataract are:
Senile cataract: This is due to aging, much more like greying of hairs in old age. lens slowly becomes opaque due to clouding.
Traumatic cataract - Cataracts can develop after an eye injury, sometimes years later.
Congenital cataract - Some babies are born with cataracts or develop them in their childhood.
Radiation cataract - Cataract can develop due to exposure of radiation.
How is a cataract detected?
Eye specialist will diagnose cataract by a comprehensive eye examination. It includes:

  • Visual acuity test: With the help of eye chart doctor measures how well you see at various distances.
  • Dilated eye examination: Drops are placed in your eyes to widen or dilate the pupils. Eyes are examined by special kind of lens under microscope in OPD. Doctors examine your lens, retina and optic nerve for any sign of disease.
  • Tonometry – this instrument measures the pressure inside the eye.

How is a cataract treated?
When a cataract first starts, an eye care professional or doctor may give you eye glasses and suggest brighter lighting to eyes, antiglare sunglasses or the magnifying lenses. If these don’t work effectively, the doctor may suggest for surgery. In this surgery the doctor numb the area around the eye and take out the cloudy lens, and replace the cloudy lens with man-made lens. This lens remains permanently in the eye for lifetime and doesn’t degrade.

Is cataract surgery effective?
Cataract removal is one of the most common operations performed now days. It is also one of the safest and most effective types of surgery. In maximum cases, people who have cataract surgery have better vision after the surgery. At our centre cataract surgery is done under topical anaesthesia (No Injection, No Pain, No Stitch, No Pad and No Dark glasses) by phacoemulsification technique as a day care surgery. Patient can go home after surgery, can perform routine activities like watching Television, cooking food.

When should I undergo cataract surgery?
In earlier times, cataract surgery was only done when the eyesight becomes very poor. With advancements in technology modern cataract surgery causes minimum trauma to the eye. The results are more predictable with very few side effects and the eye usually recovers quickly. Nowadays cataract surgery is done when people find their failing eyesight does not let them do their day to day activities.

What is phacoemulsification technique?
Surgery is done through an incision less than 2.5 millimeters in size. With careful construction of this incision and its small size, the incision is generally self-sealing. This translates to a "No-Stitch" type operation.
Phaco probe is introduced through the opening and ultrasonic energy is used to break the cataract into smaller fragments which are sucked out through this probe. An artificial lens called a foldable Intra-Ocular lens is now injected through this small opening. Once inside the eye, it serves to replace the original lens.

Why phaco technique is better than conventional technique?
The main advantages of Phaco are that a person has a good vision the very next day and may resume routine activities also the very next day. In older technique cataractous lens used to remove through a large incision, so visual recovery was very slow with more postoperative discomfort. This technique induces very minimum astigmatism, so less dependence on glasses after surgery. Due to no stich, all the problems related to stitches are not there. A person may now accomplish routine activities without spectacles, however a little spectacle correction may be required for fine focusing for distance and near. It is better for diabetic and hypertensive patients.

What are the different types of lenses available in cataract surgery? Which lens is best for my eyes?
At 3D VISION EYE care centre, a variety of IOLs are available. The selection of IOL depends on the status of the cataract, patients need and doctors recommendation. After removal of cataractous lens, surgeon put artificial lens in the eye. Different kind of lenses are available:
Mono-focal Lens: This lens helps to see clear distant objects. Patient require glasses for near work like reading news paper or working on computer.
Multifocal Lens: this lens helps to see clear both for distance & near. patient usually doesn’t need glasses for their routine work. Toric lens: this lens is specially designed for those patients, who have high cylindrical numbers due to abnormal corneal curvature. Patients can now avail simultaneous treatment of cataract and astigmatism in a single surgical procedure.
Every lens has its advantage & disadvantage, your doctor discuss these with patient before going for surgery according to status of cataract, refractive error of eye & requirement of your vision.

Will I need glasses following surgery?
You may require glasses following a cataract surgery depending on your pre-operative refractive status, type of lens implantation and healing response of your eye. After about 4 weeks of surgery, you will be provided with glasses (if required).

How can you to protect your vision?
Anyone can delay cataract by wearing the sunglasses and a hat with a brim to block ultraviolet rays from the sun, stop smoking and eat more and more green vegetables, fruits, and foods with a lot of antioxidants.

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