A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye leading to decrease in vision. Clouded vision caused by cataracts can make it more difficult to read, drive a car or see someone. It is initially experienced frequent change in power of spectacles, or as glare on looking at bright lights at night time or when going out in the sun. This progresses to a feeling of a curtain being placed in front of the eyes
Most cataracts develop slowly and don't disturb your eyesight early on. But with time, cataracts will eventually interfere with your vision. At first, stronger lighting and eyeglasses can help you deal with cataracts. But if impaired vision interferes with your usual activities, you might need cataract surgery.
Types of cataracts include:
- Cataracts that affect the center of the lens (nuclear cataracts)
- Cataracts that affect the edges of the lens (cortical cataracts)
- Cataracts that affect the back of the lens (posterior subcapsular cataracts)
- Cataracts you're born with (congenital cataracts)
Most cataracts develop when aging or injury changes the tissue that makes up your eye's lens. Some cataracts are related to inherited genetic disorders that cause other health problems and increase your risk of cataracts. Cataracts can also be caused by other eye conditions, medical conditions such as diabetes, trauma or past eye surgery. Long-term use of steroid medications, too, can cause cataracts.
- Clouded, blurred or dim vision
- Increasing difficulty with vision at night
- Sensitivity to light and glare
- Frequent changes in eyeglass
- Fading or yellowing of colors
- Double vision in a single eye
The doctor may conduct tests like:
- Read an eye chart
- Slit-lamp examination
- Retinal examination
The only effective treatment for cataracts is surgery.
Cataract surgery involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with a clear artificial lens. The artificial lens, called anntraocular Intraocular Lens (IOL), is positioned in the same place as your natural lens, and it remains a permanent part of your eye. Intraocular Lenses
are designed to last for over a hundred years, much longer than the human life.
For some people, other eye problems prohibit the use of an artificial lens. In these situations, once the cataract is removed, vision may be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses.
During cataract surgery, your eye doctor uses local anesthesia to numb the area around your eye, but you usually stay awake during the procedure.
The surgery is done by ultrasonic guided removal of the cataract, known as phacoemulsification, or popularly as “phaco”. In rare cases, this procedure may not be possible, and other surgical options such as Small Incision Cataract Surgery (SICS) may be adopted.
Cataract surgery is generally safe, but it carries a risk of infection and bleeding. Cataract surgery increases the risk of retinal detachment.
Pre-Post surgery care & advice
After the procedure, you'll have some discomfort for a few days. You generally will be completely healed within two weeks. You’ll be able to return to work between 3 and 7 days after surgery.
If you need cataract surgery in both eyes, your doctor will schedule surgery to remove the cataract in the second eye a month or two after the first surgery.
Benefits of the procedure FAQ
Cataracts will never go on their own. Surgery is the only treatment for cataracts. Cataract surgery is a very common and straightforward day case procedure that aims to give you improved eyesight. Following your cataract operation, you should be able to: see things in focus, differentiate colours and, look into bright lights without too much glare. One of the greatest benefits of cataract surgery is an increased quality of life. With better vision you have many lifestyle benefits such as reading, working, driving, socialising and, playing sport as well as greater independence, safety and reduced likelihood of falling. This in turn can also improve your self-confidence and mental health.
A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye leading to decrease in vision. Clouded vision caused by cataracts can make it more difficult to read, drive a car or see someone. It is initially experienced...