Healthy eyes have a clear lens that transmits light to the back of the eye. Cataract is the condition where this lens becomes cloudy and the eye does not receive enough light. Cataract by birth is called congenital cataract, and the type that occurs by age is called senile cataract.
What Causes Cataract?
90% of cataract cases develop by age. The proteins and fibers that make up the lens of the eye break down and decompose. As a result, protein deposits of different densities form on the lens, hazy or cloudy vision occurs.
Genetic factors, various health problems and diseases, eye surgeries, prolonged exposure to sunlight, diabetes, long-term use of steroid drugs, eye traumas and uveitis-like diseases can also trigger or accelerate this process. In very rare cases, cataract is seen by birth.
You will not feel any difference in vision when cataract begins but in time it will cloud more of your lens and distort the light passing through. At this stage noticeable symptoms will include:
– Clouded, hazy or dim vision
– Difficulty with vision especially at night
– Light and glare sensitivity
– Seeing “halos” around light sources
– Rapid changes in vision disorder degrees
– Fading (mostly yellowing) of colors
– Double vision in a single eye
If you can realize it in the early stages, progress can be slowed by using proper glasses. However, it cannot be reversed with any non-invasive approach. Sooner or later, the only option will be surgical intervention.
Modern technologies made cataract surgeries some of the easiest practices in medicine. The most common technique called phacoemulsification in example takes less than an hour. In this method, enough area around the eye is numbed with local anesthesia first. Then your surgeon will emulsify only the cataract with ultrasound waves, leaving the lens capsule untouched. Then the emulsified part will be suctioned out and an artificial lens will be replaced.
Recovery Process After Cataract Surgery
Except very rare cases, you will leave the hospital the same day surgery is done. The first 3 to 4 weeks will be critical however, because you will probably be asked use medicated eye drops and watch for any discomfort. These may be pressure feeling in the eye, swelling of the eyelid or any allergic reaction to chemicals used. Call your physician immediately if you feel any.
How To Prevent Cataract?
It is not possible to completely prevent the formation of cataract, but the risks can be reduced by:
– Protecting the eyes from sunlight as much as possible
– Stop smoking (as it ruins bloodstream)
– Following a balanced diet
– Keeping diabetes under control
– Regular ophthalmologic examination
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