Expert Guide to Cataract: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Mac 6, 2023
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Is your cataract taking over life by limiting your ability to see clearly? Or do you get frustrated when others see things you can’t? The world is a beautiful place and you deserve to view it with a clear vision! Fret not, as specialists around the world have managed to come up with ways where you are no longer forced to live with poor eyesight!

We all have natural lenses inside our eyes. Naturally, as light rays enter the eye, the lens bends itself and must be transparent to help us see clearly. You might have cataracts if your lens has developed a hazy coating, much like looking through a dirty or foggy car windshield. With cataracts, things appear cloudy, blurry, or less vibrant.

The amount of pressure your optic nerve can bear determines whether you develop glaucoma, and this quantity varies for each individual. Glaucoma may affect people of all races and genders. Although it is more common as people get older, around 60 years old and above.

Types of Cataracts

People often assume that cataract disorder stands on its own, little did they know that it branches out into multiple types of cataracts. It’s important to understand more about cataracts before deciding if you may have them. Here are a few types of cataracts specialists have uncovered so far!

  1. Nuclear Cataracts

The most common type of cataract is a nuclear cataract. These develop in the centre of the eye’s lens, gradually worsening and adversely affecting vision. Initially, it may make you more nearsighted or may even temporarily improve your reading vision. 

But as time passes, the lens gradually becomes more yellow or brown while obstructing your vision. Advanced yellowing or browning of the lens can lead to difficulty distinguishing between shades of colour.

       2. Corticol Cataracts

A cortical cataract begins as whitish, wedge-shaped opacities or streaks on the outer edge of the lens cortex. As it slowly progresses, the streaks extend to the centre and interfere with light passing through the centre of the lens.

      3. Posterior Cataracts

A cortical cataract begins as whitish, wedge-shaped opacities or streaks on the outer edge of the lens cortex. As it slowly progresses, the streaks extend to the centre and interfere with light passing through the centre of the lens.

       4. Congenital Cataracts

Some people are born with cataracts or develop them during childhood. These cataracts may be genetic or associated with an intrauterine infection or trauma.

These cataracts may also be due to certain conditions, such as myotonic dystrophy, galactosemia, neurofibromatosis type 2 or rubella. Congenital cataracts don’t always affect vision, but if they do, they’re usually removed soon after detection.

Symptoms of Cataract

At first, the cloudiness in your vision caused by a cataract may affect only a small part of the eye’s lens and you may be unaware of any vision loss. As the cataract grows larger, it clouds more of your lens and distorts the light passing through the lens. This may lead to more-noticeable symptoms. Take a look at the signs to identify if you need to visit the optometrist. 

  • reduced contrast sensitivity when vision is clouded, blurred or dim vision, resulting in increased difficulty with vision at night
  • glare (halos and starbursts around lights, light sensitivity)
  • painless blurring occurs as the eye is sensitive to light and glare, resulting in double vision in a single eye

(Fading or yellowing of colours, difficulty in differentiating dark blue from black)

  •  frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription

Treatment of Cataract

Early cataract treatment is aimed at improving your quality of vision. When cataract symptoms first appear, you may experience cloudy or blurry vision, light sensitivity, poor night vision, double vision, and changes in your eyewear prescription. Certain changes can significantly reduce these symptoms.

Cataract symptoms may be improved with new eyeglasses, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses. Certain tints and coatings also can be added to lenses to reduce symptoms. Even better positioning of lamps or reading lights can help. Your eye doctor may recommend that you wear a hat when outdoors in addition to quality sunglasses to help prevent further cataract development. If non-surgical measures do not help, surgery is the only effective treatment. It is considered when vision is decreased to a point that it interferes with your lifestyle and daily activities. 

Cataract surgery involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. It is performed in an outpatient surgical centre with local anaesthesia. Patients are generally released directly after surgery.

You’ll be instructed to wear an eye patch during your first night after surgery to protect your eye. After your first post-operative visit, you will usually be advised to wear a night guard patch for the next several nights. Do take it easy for the first week or two after surgery and limit any heavy lifting and bending over. Post-operative medications are prescribed for about three or four weeks.

Multiple forms of surgeries can be performed depending on the type and severity of cataracts. 

Phacoemulsification

The most popular cataract removal surgery today is phacoemulsification (phaco). Through a very small incision, an ultrasonic instrument vibrating at a very high speed is put into the eye. This device emits ultrasound waves to soften and break up the lens carefully, allowing it to be removed by suction.

The surgeon then places an artificial lens within the eye. Depending on the kind of incision made, the wound may just need one stitch to close it, or even none at all. Small incision cataract surgery is another name for this method of treating cataracts.

Extracapsular Cataract Surgery

Similar to phacoemulsification, but requires a much bigger incision to allow for the complete removal of the len’s nucleus or central portion. 

Due to the size of the incision, several stitches or sutures are needed to repair the wound. Because of potential problems, longer recovery, and induced astigmatism, this procedure is less frequently used today.

Intracapsular Cataract Surgery

Through a large incision, the entire lens and its capsule are removed during this rare treatment. This technique may only be used in very advanced cataract formation or damage, according to surgeons.

THE BOTTOM LINE 

With that being said, just remember that no matter your age, you have the right to sight! Finding an eye clinic that understands such a concept can be challenging, thankfully VISTA Eye Clinic managed to grasp the importance of sight and offers treatment to help you and your vision at an affordable price! Their mission is to enhance your vision, at VISTA Eye Clinic, your sight comes first!

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