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Eyes are a beautiful gift of God, enabling us to appreciate the beauty around us. Thus utmost care should be taken of this delicate organ. However, aging comes on with different sets of diseases, and an eye problem is one of them. It becomes very important to visit an ophthalmologist in that case.
A visual field test and ophthalmoscopy are necessary tests that are used to determine the eye problems of the patients. Cataract is one of the commonly occurring eye problems across the planet. Getting to know about the condition and the ways to manage cataract is imperative to avoid complications in vision.
Cataract can be defined as the clouding of the natural lenses in the eyes. This is caused by the clumping of protein in the eye lens. Cataract is a common eye disorder and the leading cause of loss of vision in people who are past their fortieth birthday. Cataract can occur in one or both eyes. When diagnosed properly, cataract can be treated with surgery to prevent blindness.
What is a Cataract?
It is a disease where clouding of the lens occurs which leads to decreased vision in patients. It can affect one or both eyes. Cataracts are the cause of blindness and visual impairment nearing 33 percent worldwide.
Common symptoms that show up include blurry vision, halos around light, faded colors, and trouble seeing at night which causes driving problems, trouble in reading or recognizing faces and many more. This disease is most commonly caused due to aging. In rare cases, it may be present from birth, and other risk factors include tobacco smoking, diabetes, prolonged exposure to sunlight, trauma or radiation exposure and alcohol.
A recently conducted eye surgery also increases the chances of good results.About 20 million people are blind due to this disease, and in the US alone, it is the cause for 5 percent of blindness, while in Africa & South America it is the cause for nearly 60% of blindness.
Depending on where and how they develop, there are many types of cataract. The most common amongst these are:
- Subcapsular cataract: These occur at the back of the eye lens. Diabetic patients are very susceptible to this kind of cataract.
- Nuclear cataract: Yellowish-brown cataract that form in the center of the lens are called nuclear cataract. This is usually seen in cataract caused by ageing.
- Cortical cataract: Cataract in the lens cortex are known as cortical cataract. These are wedge shaped and whitish in color. Spokes protruding out of these opaque wedges can be seen moving towards the center of the eye.
- Congenital cataract: Though they are not common, babies can also have cataract. Cataract formed at birth or within the first year of a baby's birth are known as congenital cataract.
- Secondary cataract: Cataract is one of the known side effects of diabetes and glaucoma. Some steroids and medicines are also linked to cataract.
- Traumatic cataract: If your vision becomes cloudy years after an eye injury, it could be a traumatic cataract. It can take several years for this to happen.
- Radiation cataract: Exposure to radiation can also lead to cataract. This is seen sometimes in patients who have undergone radiation therapy to fight diseases like cancer.
Though the type of cataract might differ from person to person, the symptoms are usually the same. Some of the common symptoms of cataract are:
- Blurred vision
- Reduced night vision
- Increased sensitivity to light and glare
- Seeing halos around lights
- Colors appearing faded
- Double vision
Treatment and Management of Cataract
Well, no medical treatment is effective once the opacity of lens has developed. Therefore, surgical treatment remains the only option left to go with. Performed usually using local anesthesia, about 9 out of 10 patients achieves a corrected vision of 20/40 after surgery.
Management of patients with cataract is a gradual process where the first assessment done by ophthalmologists is regarding the prevalence and the morphology of the eyeball. Three major types of cataract are known, and patients are categorized into them first. The category includes cortical, nuclear or PSC (Posterior subcapsular). Some may have mixed cataract.
Complications may occur post operation, and thus management is required.
A patient post operation is sent to a co-managing doctor, and the eye surgeon decides what should be the proper time to take this step. Most of the ophthalmologists prefer to observe the patient’s condition at least once in a day by a post-operative visit to ensure zero complications.
Optometrists provide post-operative care in more than 2/3rd of the cases. Co-management should be done in patient’s best interest be it at day one or later in the post-operative course.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!