What is Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye which leads to a decrease in vision. It is the most common cause of blindness and is conventionally treated with surgery. Visual loss occurs because opacification of the lens obstructs light from passing and being focused on to the retina at the back of the eye.
It is most commonly due to biological aging but there are a wide variety of other causes. Over time, yellow-brown pigment is deposited within the lens and this, together with disruption of the normal architecture of the lens fibers, leads to reduced transmission of light, which in turn leads to visual problems.
Those with cataracts commonly experience difficulty in appreciating colors and changes in contrast, driving, reading, recognizing faces, and coping with glare from bright lights
What are the Signs and Symptoms of cataract?
Signs and symptoms vary depending on the type of cataract, though there is considerable overlap.Many patients' first symptoms are strong glare from lights and small light sources at night, along with reduced acuity at low light levels People with nuclear sclerotic or brunescent cataracts often notice a reduction of vision. Those with posterior supcapsular cataracts usually complain of glare as their major symptom.
The severity of cataract formation, assuming that no other eye disease is present, is judged primarily by visual acuity test. The appropriateness of surgery depends on a patient's particular functional and visual needs and other risk factors, all of which may vary widely.
What is the main cause of Cataract?
Age is the most common cause. Lens proteins denature and degrade over time and this process is accelerated by diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. With the passage of time, environmental factors including toxins, radiation and UV light have an accumulative effect. These effects are worsened by the loss of protective and restorative mechanisms due to alterations in gene expression and chemical processes within the eye.
Treatment- Cataract Surgery:
Cataract is treated by Cataract Surgery.Cataract surgery is the removal of the natural lens of the eye (also called "crystalline lens") that has developed an opacification, which is referred to as a cataract. Metabolic changes of the crystalline lens fibers over time lead to the development of the cataract and loss of transparency, causing impairment or loss of vision. . During cataract surgery, a patient's cloudy natural lens is removed and replaced with a synthetic lens to restore the lens's transparency
What Happens During Cataract Surgery?
During cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed or cleaned out and replaced by a clear man made lens.
Most cataract surgeries are done with a technique called phacoemulsification (FAY-co-ee-mul-sih-fih-CAY-shun), also called "small cut cataract surgery." The cut can be smaller because the harder center section of the lens is liquefied and then vacuumed out.
Under local anesthesia, a surgeon performing phacoemulsification makes a small opening on the side of your cornea. A device that sends out ultrasound vibrations is inserted into the eye and breaks the lens into small pieces. The fragments are then removed by suction through the small cut in the eye.
Your eye doctor may use a laser to make the cut. The hope is that a more precise cut will further improve recovery from cataract surgery.
After the cataract is removed, the surgeon usually replaces it with a new, manmade lens called an intraocular lens or IOL. This procedure is called "intraocular lens implantation."
The IOL is clear plastic, acrylic, or silicone with an optical power chosen by the surgeon to help restore normal vision. This lens is permanent and needs no special care.
The IOL focuses light onto the retina to help improve your vision. Still, even if your natural lens is replaced with an intraocular lens, you probably will need a new eyeglass prescription. However, most people can see fairly well at a distance without glasses after modern cataract surgery with a cataract lens replacement.
Cataract surgery is usually done as an outpatient procedure in an operating room, so you don't have to stay in the hospital. The actual surgery usually lasts less than an hour.
Some people prefer to be awake during the surgery. A sedative may be given and numbing drops are placed on the eyes. Talk to your surgeon about your preference.
Doctors usually won't remove cataracts in both eyes at the same time. If you need both eyes done, you will be scheduled for separate surgeries, usually a few weeks apart.
Is Cataract Surgery Safe?
Nearly 98% of all cataract surgeries are completed each year without serious complications. Though this type of surgery is very safe, you should always discuss the risks of surgery with your eye surgeon.
What Can I Expect After Cataract Surgery?
After cataract surgery, it is normal to feel mild irritation. Your doctor may recommend that you take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). You may also have mild tearing and be slightly sensitive to light for a short time following cataract surgery. You can wear dark glasses to help with the light sensitivity.
For a few weeks after cataract surgery, you will need to take medication in the form of eye drops to aid healing and prevent infection. Your surgeon may want you to avoid very strenuous activities for a short period after surgery, but most normal activities need not be restricted following cataract surgery.
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