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Cataracts are a common eye problem experienced by the elderly. In some cases, babies may also be born with cataract as a congenital defect or it may develop as a result of conditions such as diabetes. Cataracts can affect one or both eyes and is characterized by the clouding of the lens in the eye. This can make it difficult to see clearly and if not treated in time can lead to blindness.
Common symptoms of cataract include:
- Blurred vision
- Changes in the perception of colour
- Night blindness
- Increased sensitivity to glares
- Double vision
An eye examination is the first step to diagnosing cataracts. To confirm a diagnosis the doctor will also dilate the pupil to check the lens. Most cataracts can be easily treated with surgery. This surgery involves the separation of the cataract from the lens and its removal after which an intraocular lens implant is placed in the eye. In cases where this cannot be used, corrective contact lenses or glasses will need to be used. One of the most popular methods of cataract surgery is known as phaco surgery or phacoemulsification.
This surgery involves making two, small incisions on the eye where the cornea meets the sclera. This is then used to create a circular opening in the lens through which a probe is inserted into the eye. Sound waves or laser is then used to break the cataract into small pieces. This is then removed from the eyes and an intraocular lens implant is put in its place. Stitches are rarely required for this surgery and it is usually performed as an outpatient procedure while the patient is under local anaesthesia. When treating cataract, both eyes are usually not addressed simultaneously.
This surgery is usually pain free. The operated eye may be bandaged overnight and the patient will be given a protective eye shield to be worn for a week. The doctor will ask you to get a check up 2-3 days after the surgery where they can evaluate the clarity of the lens, overall health of the eye, eye pressure and visual acuity.
Cataract surgery is generally considered to be a safe surgery but like any other surgery there are risks involved. Some of the possible complications of this type of surgery include:
- Pain and redness of the eye
- Vision problems
- Swelling of the eye
- Discharge from the eye
- Flashes or floaters in the patient’s vision
As we age we get wiser for our experiences and knowledge, but it is also an accepted fact that our body and organ system get much weaker and there may be little that we can do about it. As we hit the middle ages, we start to experience problems such as wrinkles or greying of hair and general fatigue and tiredness after a short amount of activity. However, the real trouble starts when major system dysfunctions, such as the eyes and the vision.
Simple things like reading a book or a newspaper may become major tasks and it may be time to realise that we may be suffering from presbyopia. Presbyopia is commonly known as farsightedness and this is a problem in which patients find it difficult to see objects clearly when they are too close to the eyes.
How it affects the eyes:
It is a common knowledge that the vision system works with the help of natural lenses and its focal point. When the focal point of vision falls on the lenses, you may be able to experience perfect vision, but when it starts to move slightly off the point you may experience problems in viewing regular things such as printed or written words or even the things on your phone or computer.
Experiencing blurred vision when you try to view closer objects occurs because the elasticity of the lens of the eyes changes and the focal length of the lens changes with it. However, there are a lot of treatment alternatives for the problem and people do not have to start feeling old just because they experience difficulty in vision.
The more conventional treatments for presbyopia include the use of glasses with a power of lens that help in correcting the vision and reading may become a favoured activity again. For those who find the use of glasses to be a hindrance in regular life may also opt for contact lens, which may be a more comfortable alternative for those who may not want to make their problem obvious to the world. In a lot of cases, the people who suffer from the problem of far-sightedness may also choose to undergo surgery for the problem so that it can be corrected completely and no other measures may have to be taken.
Health issues may be a regular occurrence as you advance in age and you may have to find alternatives and treatments that help ease out the situation, but it is most imperative to make sure that you take the best advice from a qualified and certified doctor so that you problem may be diagnosed correctly and you may be able to get treatment suggestions that may cater to your specific body and ailment needs. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Eyes are very important organs as they provide you with the ability to process visual detail and detect light. However, because your eyes are exposed to harsh climate and pollutants, they can get spoilt. Here are a few basic tips you can follow to take care of your eyes:
- Eye yoga: Eye Yoga is an ancient method of relaxing your eyes and is also known as “palming”. All you need to do is cup your palms and place them over closed eyes in a way wherein your fingertips are touching your forehead. This helps in blocking out light completely. While cupping your eyes, take long, deep breaths which can help relax your eyes and mind.
- Eat healthy: It is important to eat healthy in order to maintain healthy eyes. Medical practitioners believe that vitamins have anti oxidants which slow down age related problems in the eye. You should be eating foods rich in Vitamin A, C and E, Zinc rich foods and foods with folic acid. Food items such as carrots, lettuce, spinach and kale can help in keeping your eyes healthy for longer.
- Wear dark sunglasses: Every time your eyes are exposed to the sun, they have to tolerate the harmful UV-A and UV-B rays. The ultraviolet rays can prove to be very damaging for your eyes as they affect the optic nerve. Hence, you should always wear dark coloured sunglasses in the sun to protect your eyes.
- Take breaks: Staring at a computer screen or a mobile screen all day can prove to be very harmful to your eyes. According to a study, when you stare a screen for too long, you blink lesser. This can lead to dry eyes.
- Get required rest: It is important to rest your eyes and free them of the strain they endure daily. Hence, you should aim to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep time daily to give them the required rest time.
- Quit smoking: Smoking cigarettes can be harmful for your eyes as it increases chances of macular degeneration and cataracts. Smoking also increases chances of optic nerve damage as it impairs blood circulation to the eyes.