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Cataracts and Treatments

Cataract is a natural eye lens with the cloudiness that can impair the patient's vision. Almost half of the people over 65 years have cataract either in one or both the eyes. The cloudiness on the lens of the eye is formed because of the protein build-up that prevents the light from passing through a clear normal lens and causing some loss of the vision.

There are various reasons why a cataract is formed on the lens, but no one knows the exact reason for the protein build-up. The most common cause for a cataract is the ageing, typically develops with the age. Some babies have the cataracts developed mainly due to an infection before they were born or during the childhood. Also people develop the cataract following an injury to the eye, from diseases like diabetes, ultra-violet light and radiation. Cigarette smoking, air pollution and heavy alcohol consumption may also result in the eye getting cataracts.

Cataracts often form slowly and show few symptoms:

  • Vision that is cloudy
  • Sudden nearsightedness
  • Changes in the way the patient sees color, especially yellow
  • Glaring and
  • Double vision

The eye surgeon can perform a series of tests to see how well the patient can see with or without the contact lens, what type of cataract he/she has etc. Cataracts are classified as one of three types:

A cataract formed in the nucleus of the lens due to natural aging is called " nuclear cataract ".

A cataract formed in the lens cortex, gradually extending to the centre of the lens is called " cortical cataract ". The main cause of this type of cataract is diabetics.

A cataract formed at the back of the lens due to diabetes, high far sightedness or high intake of steroids is called " subcapsular cataract ".

If the vision is acceptable, eyeglasses, including bifocals and contacts, may be prescribed, so that the surgery is avoided. Cataract surgery is conducted as an outpatient basis. So it is recommended that the patient talk to the surgeon to see which treatment is right for them.

Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is a procedure that could repair the clouding over the lens of the eye. During the surgery, the cataract is removed and replaced by a plastic, clear lens.

There are different surgical techniques used to remove the lens. The most common method of cataract surgery is called phacoemulsification, where the surgeon uses high-frequency sound waves to break the lens into small pieces that are removed by suction through a small incision in the eye. This is performed under a local anesthesia.

After cataract surgery, it is normal to feel itching, temporary fluid discharge from the eye and some mild discomfort, be sensitive to light for a short time. The surgeon may recommend pain relievers to reduce the discomfort.

For a few days after cataract surgery, the patient will need to take medication in the form of eye drops to aid healing, prevent infection, and control the pressure inside the eye.