A cataract is defined as an eye disease that makes the transparent eye lens cloudy or opaque and results in low vision. Although the term cataract has been used to describe this condition from the 15th century onwards, this eye ailment has been recognised and surgically treated since ancient times.
According to ophthalmologists, cataract occurs when protein clumps start accumulating or clumping together in the lens. This forms a white opaque film in the eye’s natural lens that prevents light from passing through it to reach the retina. This is generally an age-related disorder and is usually classified by anatomical location within the lens, degree of clouding of the lens, or the cataract.
Reasons for the development of cataract
A few factors that contribute to the development of cataract are-
People above 60 years of age are at a high risk of developing cataract in comparison to other people.
Overexposure to UV rays can negatively affect the eyes and cause cataract.
Regular use of steroids or other prescription drugs can also result in cataract.
People affected by diabetes are more likely to develop a cataract when compared to their healthier counterparts.
Cataract can also be injury-induced and can result in complete loss of vision.
Apart from this, some genetic diseases are also associated with the development of cataract and include Myotonic Dystrophy, Galactosemia, Homocystinuria, Wilson’s disease, and Down’s syndrome. A few congenital infections like herpes simplex, rubella, toxoplasmosis, syphilis, and cytomegalic inclusion disease may also result in cataract. Even though Cataract is considered to be an age-related issue, a few other ailments like Atopic dermatitis, hypothyroidism, and hyperparathyroidism are also associated with the early development of cataract.
Generally, there are no symptoms associated with cataract in the initial stages. As it progresses, people begin to notice various symptoms like a decrease in vision clarity, which is not fully correctable with glasses. Further, a few general symptoms include
- Hazy, fuzzy, and blurred vision
- Double vision
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Poor night vision
- Rapid need to change eyeglass prescription in the early stage
Diagnosis of cataract
Cataract can be easily diagnosed by an ophthalmologist or an optometrist during a routine eye examination that includes dilating the pupil and performing a slit lamp or a retinal examination.
Treatment for cataract
Surgical removal of the cloudy lens is the only treatment available for Cataract. Ophthalmologists often suggest surgery in cases where the patient can perform necessary daily life activities, such as driving a car, reading a book, or looking at a computer screen. As a part of post-surgery care, a cataract patient is advised to limit his or her routine activities for only a few days. Recovery time is also brief for cataract surgery.
When can surgery be avoided?
People suffering from advanced macular degeneration or having a detached retina along with a Cataract are often advised to refrain from having cataract surgery. Eye experts also suggest avoiding going under the knife if the associated symptoms do not hamper the day to day activities of people suffering from cataract.
Prognosis of cataract
The rate of progression of cataract is usually predictable, and surgery is often successful in restoring vision. However, if other ailments already affect the eyes, the pace of advancement and treatment depends on other eye diseases.
Is it possible to prevent cataract?
According to eye experts, everyone has a chance of developing cataract in their lifetime, and no scientifically proven method can help prevent cataract. However, the cataract’s progression can be avoided by taking a few preventive measures like avoiding smoking and following a healthy diet. Wearing UV-protection sunglasses can also be quite helpful in dealing with cataract.
Are you planning for cataract surgery?
Are you planning for a cataract surgery but not sure whom to consult? Don’t fret and visit the nearest Centre for Sight branch today. We are the pioneers of modern bladeless robotic cataract surgery and offer the most advanced laser treatment of cataract (Femto cataract surgery) in India. With a pan India presence and equipped with the latest state of the art machines, our highly experienced surgeons are adept at handling all types of cataract cases that range from easy to very complicated. For further information, reach us over the phone or visit our website now.
Article: Wondering what is cataract? Here are all the details you need
Author: CFS Editorial Team | Sept 24 2020 | UPDATED 07:00 IST
*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.