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What is Catracts?
Cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens - the part of the eye responsible for focusing light and producing clear, sharp images. A cataract occurs when the crystalline lens of the eye becomes cloudy or opaque as a result of age, illness, or trauma. This cloudiness can interfere with the eye’s natural ability to direct light and focus an image on the retina. As a result, individuals with cataracts frequently experience a loss of vision.
The most common cause of cataract is the deterioration of the normal structure within the lens of the eye with age. There may be other causes like diabetes, kidney disease, glaucoma, smoking, eye injuries, infection, and inflammation inside the eye. Prolonged use of certain medications can also lead to cataract formation
Common symptoms are blurry vision,colors that seem faded, glare,not being able to see well at night, double vision. frequent prescription changes in your eye wear.
Types of cataract?
Cataracts can form after surgery for other eye problems, such as glaucoma. Cataracts also can develop in people who have other health problems, such as diabetes. Cataracts are sometimes linked to steroid use.
Cataracts can develop after an eye injury, sometimes years later.
Some babies are born with cataracts or develop them in childhood, often in both eyes. These cataracts may be so small that they do not affect vision. If they do, the lenses may need to be removed.
Cataracts can develop after exposure to some types of radiation.
Causes and Risk Factors
The lens lies behind the iris and the pupil (see diagram). It works much like a camera lens. It focuses light onto the retina at the back of the eye, where an image is recorded. The lens also adjusts the eye's focus, letting us see things clearly both up close and far away. The lens is made of mostly water and protein. The protein is arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens clear and lets light pass through it.
But as we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. This is a cataract. Over time, the cataract may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it harder to see.
Researchers suspect that there are several causes of cataract, such as smoking and diabetes. Or, it may be that the protein in the lens just changes from the wear and tear it takes over the years.
Symptoms and Detection
The most common symptoms of a cataract are:
Cloudy or blurry vision.
Colors seem faded.
Headlights, lamps, or sunlight may appear too bright.
A halo may appear around lights.
Double vision or multiple images in one eye. (This symptom may clear as the cataract gets larger.
Frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Blurring of vision.
Glare, or sensitivity to light.
Difficulty in reading in low light.
Declining night vision.
Fading or yellowing of colors.
These symptoms also can be a sign of other eye problems. If you have any of these symptoms, check with your eye care professional.
Adults over the age of 40 should schedule routine eye examinations on an annual basis to determine whether cataracts or other eye disorders are present.
Cataract is detected through a comprehensive eye exam that includes:
Visual acuity test
This eye chart test measures how well you see at various distances.
Dilated eye exam
Drops are placed in your eyes to widen, or dilate, the pupils. Your eye care professional uses a special magnifying lens to examine your retina and optic nerve for signs of damage and other eye problems. After the exam, your close-up vision may remain blurred for several hours.
An instrument measures the pressure inside the eye. Numbing drops may be applied to your eye for this test.
There are different types of cataract surgery
Phacoemulsification cataract surgery
in which the eye's internal lens is emulsified with an ultrasonic handpiece, and aspirated from the eye. . The incision size for phacoemulsification is approximately 3.0 millimeters in width. The technique of phacoemulsification utilizes a small incision. The tip of the instrument is introduced into the eye through this small incision. Localized high frequency waves are generated through this tip to break the cataract into very minute fragments and pieces, which are then sucked out through the same tip in a controlled manner. A thin 'capsule' or shell is left behind after cleaning up of the entire opaque cataract.
involves the removal of the affected lens while leaving the majority of the elastic lens capsule intact. This allows for the direct implantation of an intraocular lens into the lens capsule. This procedure is typically done under a local anesthetic on an out-patient basis, so cataract surgery patients are free to go home the same day. During extracapsular cataract extraction: An 8 mm to 10 mm incision is made in the eye where the clear front covering of the eye (cornea) meets the white of the eye (sclera).Another small incision is made into the front portion of the lens capsule, and the lens is removed, along with any remaining lens material. An intraocular lens implant (IOL) may then be placed inside the lens capsule, and the incision is closed.
Intracapsular cataract surgery
This surgical technique requires an even larger wound than extracapsular surgery, and the surgeon removes the entire lens and the surrounding capsule together. This technique requires the intraocular lens to be placed in a different location, in front of the iris. This method is rarely used today but can be still be useful in cases of significant trauma.