Cataract is a situation when the lens of the eyes becomes cloudy. We see an image when light travels through the pupil and is focused through the lens on the retina. It is essential that the lens remains clear.
If you find your vision blurry, dim or cloudy, there are chances that you may have a cataract. In the early stages, there may not be any changes in your vision and you may find that you can see well with just a change of glasses but slowly you will find it difficult to view things. Consult an ophthalmologist immediately if you find your vision becoming blurry or dim. Your ophthalmologist will tell you whether it is cataract or some other problem.
Cataract is one of the commonest reasons for vision loss, especially in people over the age of 60 years, but can occur at an earlier age. It develops with age and is treatable with surgery. Cataract operation is the only way to solve the problem. However, if you are not facing significant disturbances in your lifestyle, changing eyeglasses can work. Medicines, such as drops or tablets cannot cure a cataract, nor indeed can they slow its progression.
If you are getting cataract, it is important to visit your ophthalmologist, who can discuss the possible need for surgery and its timing depending on your lifestyle needs. Every individual’s case is different so there is no “one size fits all” solution. Your ophthalmologist can assess your condition and offer you the correct option regarding timing of surgery, choice of intraocular lens implant and will also answer any other questions you may have. Today Intraocular Lenses are available in a wide range of prices and quality to suit every requirement and pocket.
The symptoms of cataract are:
The disease begins to take effect with age. Get your eyes checked at the age of 40. As you grow older the risk increases. With time, the lens of your eyes becomes thicker and less transparent. Areas of the lens become cloudy as proteins within the lens begin to cloud. Treatment is very effective at restoring vision.
The lens of our eye is made up of proteins and water. As we grow older, the lens hardens and becomes opaque. Proteins get clumped making some areas cloudy. This cloudiness is called cataract.
Below are the less common types of cataracts that are not related to ageing.
It develops directly due to an eye injury. It may appear immediately or can develop after several months or years after the injury.
Congenital cataract develops in children or infants. This type of cataract can be hereditary or be associated with birth defects. Sometimes it may occur without any reason.
Cataracts from other diseases and steroids
These cataracts can develop from earlier eye surgery or diseases. Imprudent use of steroids can also result in this type of cataract. Prolonged use of steroid eye drops is an important cause of cataracts.
The disease is diagnosed in the following ways:
Slit-lamp microscope exam
Here the ophthalmologist minutely observes the eye's cornea, lens, iris and the space between cornea and iris using slit-lamp microscope to look for abnormalities.
Examination of the retina
In this process, the eyes are dilated and using a slit lamp or ophthalmoscope the doctor looks for cataract signs and signs of any other eye disease that may be present.
Visual acuity test
Here each eye is tested individually to assess the vision’s clarity.
If the disease is affecting your lifestyle and visual needs then surgery is the only option. In surgery, the cloudy natural lens is replaced with an artificial lens. The artificial lens is known as Intraocular lens (IOL). With technological advances, cataract treatment has become easy and cost-effective.
Before the surgery, the doctor measures the length and curve of your cornea to determine the right lens to implant. If you had a laser vision correction earlier, provide the prescription so that your doctor can calculate the right IOL lens power.
You must inform your doctor about all the nutritional supplements and medication you are taking. There are certain alpha-blocker drugs (Cadura®, Uroxatral®, Flomax® or Urimax®) that prevent proper dilation of the pupil during surgery. This can lead to complications, but if your ophthalmologist knows about these then precautions can be taken to reduce the risk.
Cataract surgery process
Phacoemulsification is the most common type of surgery worldwide. It is the standard of care for cataract treatment. In this procedure, a small incision is made on the side of the cornea. A high-frequency ultrasound instrument is inserted to break the cloudy lens and remove it. After removing the cloudy lens, an IOL is implanted that allows light to pass properly. A protective shield is placed over the eyes after surgery.
After operation, it is vital to put eye drops exactly as prescribed by the doctor. You must also take proper care of your eyes by wearing eye shield. Prevent dust, dirt and water from entering your eyes. Do not rub your eyes.
Many private insurance plans will cover costs. If you are not insured, you will have to bear your cataract surgery cost.
Dr Somdutt Prasad, one of the best retinal specialists and a noted eye doctor in Kolkata, is well-versed in all aspects of cataract surgery. At i4vision, patients undergo successful surgery and it opens a whole new world for them. The modern facilities available in this leading eye care clinic in Kolkata make the entire process hassle-free.