Cataract and Cataract Surgery
Cataract - a common cause of gradual vision loss is opacity of the lens or the lens capsule of the eye. The clouded lens blocks light shining through the cornea. This, in turn, blurs the image cast onto the retina. As a result, the brain interprets a hazy image.
Cataracts commonly affect both eyes, but each cataract progresses independently. Exceptions are traumatic cataracts, which are usually unilateral, and congenital cataracts, which may remain stationary. Cataracts are most prevalent in people over age 70. Surgery restores vision in about 95% of patients.
Cataracts are classified by their causes:
The following are the most common symptoms ofcataracts. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Often in the disease's early stages, you may not notice any changes in your vision. Since cataracts tend to grow slowly, your vision will worsen gradually. Certain cataracts can also cause a temporary improvement in close-up vision, but this is likely to worsen as the cataract grows. The symptoms ofcataracts may resemble other eye conditions. Consult a physician for diagnosis.
Other tests that may be done (rarely) include:
Surgical lens extraction and implantation of an intraocular lens (IOL) to correct the visual deficit is the treatment for a patient with cataract. The surgery is usually performed as a same-day, or outpatient, procedure.
Surgical procedures include the following:
Possible complications of surgery include loss of vitreous (during surgery), wound dehiscence from loosening of sutures and flat anterior chamber or iris prolapse into the wound, hyphema, pupillary block glaucoma, retinal detachment, and infection. In addition, a patient with an IOL implant may experience improved vision almost immediately; however, the IOL corrects distance vision only. The patient also needs either corrective reading glasses or a corrective contact lens, which can be fitted 4 to 8 weeks after surgery.
If the patient didn't receive an IOL, he may receive temporary aphakic cataract glasses. Then, sometime between 4 and 8 weeks after surgery, he has a refraction examination for permanent glasses.
Some patients who have an extracapsular cataract extraction develop a secondary membrane in the posterior lens capsule (which has been left intact), causing decreased visual acuity. This membrane can be removed by the Nd:YAG laser, which cuts an area from the membrane center, thus restoring vision. However, laser surgery alone can't remove a cataract.
Although cataracts have no scientifically proven prevention, it is sometimes said that wearing ultraviolet -protecting sunglasses may slow the development of cataracts. Regular intake of antioxidants (such as vitamin C and E) is theoretically helpful, but this is also not proven.
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