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Last Updated: Feb 24, 2020
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Cataracts: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

About Types Signs Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment Side Effects Recovery Price Results Prevention Alternatives Home Remedies

What is a Cataract?

A cataract is defined as a clouding of the lens in the eye where your vision gets blurred. A cataract affects the eyes, when light that passes through the lens prevents a clearly formed image from reaching your retina. The disease is very common and usually, develops as your eyes age or due to any injury caused to the tissues that cover your eye's lens.

In general, after the age of 60 years, there is a condition that occurs in the eye where protein builds up as a cloud in it. This condition is very common in older people of age group of 50-80 years.

Cataract is affecting vision of patient causing view like looking through a frosty or fogged up window with reduced vision or sometime complete loss of vision. As mentioned already, clump of protein are formed in area of lens which is unable to send clear images to retina and retina’s function gets disturbed.

In some cases, people face this condition in both eyes at the same time or else with a gap of certain period of time and this disease does not spread from one eye to another eye. Cataract condition of eye, in many cases considered as basic cause of blindness if left untreated. For getting rid out of this protein formed in eyes, patients have undergone surgery. Some of the causes of the disease are the old age, other causes of cataract such as smoking, addiction of alcohol, prolonged sunlight exposure, to name a few.

What are the different types of cataracts?

Basically, there are four types of cataracts depending upon the causes behind it and it is mentioned as below:

  • Nuclear Sclerotic Cataracts:

    This is one of the most common types of cataract in which lens starts to get hard and the central zone gets yellow thus expanding to the other layers of the lens. When Nuclear Sclerotic Cataract changes with time, then the eyes ability of close-up vision or focusing changes and may also temporarily improve. The improvement of vision is referred to as second sight but is not permanent.

  • Cortical Cataract:

    This takes shape on the outer edge of the lens called cortex. They start at the center of your eye as white wedges like a triangle. While they grow they start scattering the light, thus making difficulty in night vision.

  • Congenital Cataract:

    This is a form of cataract which is due to genetics problems or associated with intrauterine infection or trauma.

  • Posterior subcapsular cataract:

    This forms at the back of the lens and it surrounds and holds the lens from back thus making the path of life difficult. The symptoms of this cataract can be seen faster than any other as they affect the close vision and make hard to see things in bright light.

What is the first sign of cataracts?

Clouding up of the normal eye lens is the first sign of cataract and people start to have problems seeing through cloudy vision. When the vision becomes blurred it becomes difficult for the person to read, write or drive especially at night. The person becomes sensitive to light and requires brighter lights for reading. There can be some more symptoms like doubling of vision and fading or yellowing of colors.

What are the Symptoms of Cataracts?

Due to effect on lens of the eye, cataract symptoms can be clouded, blurred or dim vision, faded colors, feeling of sensitivity to headlights, sun lights, lamps and glare, formation of “halos” around lights, double vision or multiple image formation of eye, nearsightedness, trouble with spectacles and/or contact lenses as not working well, requirement of brighter light for reading and other activities. Medical professionals are also considering signs of this as common symptoms of other eye problems, too.

Severe symptoms can be observed only after the protein cloud covers more area of lens. Firstly, this cloud will just affect small portion of lens and person cannot easily recognize any vision loss. Starting of blurry vision creates a picture of impressionist painting or a view like looking through a cloudy piece of glass. Some signs are also depends on what type of cataract is formed, for example second sight is a temporary improvement in near vision faced during nuclear cataract.

What are the Causes of Cataracts?

  • Lenses of eyes are performing similar function as camera lens and focusing light onto the retina for creating clear vision. Cataract is affecting the lens of eye which is due to aging or an injury changes the tissue of lens.
  • The condition can be overviewed if a person is experiencing environmental factors such as ultraviolet rays, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, previous eye surgery, personal behaviour like alcohol and tobacco use, prolonged use of certain medicines like statins and corticosteroids, hormone replacement therapy, family history etc.
  • There are lenses that lies behind our iris and pupil which act much like a camera lens. It helps concentrate light onto the retina at the back of our eye to form a sharply defined image. Besides, the lens also helps our eyes to adjust focus and allows us to see things clearly both far away and up close. The lens is composed of protein and water where the protein is arranged in a manner to keep the lens clear thereby letting light pass through it. However, as we grow old, some of the protein starts to become thick and cloud a small lens area. This is known as a cataract.
  • With the passage of time, it may inflate and cover more of the lens, making it difficult for us to see. Besides, there are other causes of cataract such as smoking, addiction of alcohol, prolonged sunlight exposure, to name a few.

How to Diagnose Cataract?

Health professionals can diagnose cataract condition by firstly examining eyes of patients. They will dilate the pupil of eye to have a clear view about the lens and other parts of eye.

They can also go for visual acuity test (measures how well a person can see at various distances) and tonometry (the instrument measures the pressure inside the eye). Many professional are also determining by checking the sensitivity of eye to glare and other forms of light along with identifying perception of colors by person.

How is the Cataract Treatment Done?

In order to diagnose cataract, the doctor will go through the medical history and recommend several diagnostic tests. These tests include visual acuity test, slit lamp examination and retinal examination. A special device called an ophthalmoscope is also used to examine the lens for signs of a cataract.

Cataract can be treated in two ways, depending on the severity of the condition. In the initial stages, the blur or fuzzy vision can be cured with the help of glasses and contact lenses.

In this case, no surgical operation is needed. If glasses fail to clear to vision impairment, then surgery is the only method to remove the protein cloud formation on the retina and clear the vision. The surgery is done as an outpatient basis and is simple and painless. In cataract surgery, the protein clouded lens is removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens.

This artificial lens is called an intraocular lens and is positioned in the same place as the natural lens. It remains a permanent part of the eye. If both eyes have cataracts and surgery needs to be done on both of them, the surgery on the second eye is generally planned at least a week after the first eye. This is done to help regain comfort and proper vision in the first operated eye. After operation, the person may feel discomfort for a few days but this goes away in a week’s time.

Who is Eligible for the Treatment of Cataract?

People should immediately consult a doctor when they develop symptoms of cataract or any visual problems or disturbances. Sudden vision changes, such as blurred or foggy vision, double vision or flashes of light, sudden eye pain, or sudden headache need to be supervised by ophthalmologists.

Who is not Eligible for the Cataract Treatment?

Surgical operations for cataract or blurred vision may not be needed if visual aids like glasses and contact lenses can improve vision. First or earlier stages do not require much treatment and cataract can be prevented from worsening vision further.

Are there any Side Effects of Cataract Surgery?

There are some complications associated with cataract surgery. It carries a risk of infection and bleeding. It increases the risk of retinal detachment and endophthalmitis. People face decrease in vision along with pain in both the cases. Their vision gets blurred along with unilateral visual field defects, flashes of light, or floating spots.

People may also face less serious but more common problems like corneal edema and cystoid macular edema. These occur because of persistent swelling at the front of the eye in corneal edema or back of the eye in cystoid macular edema. Even after months or years after successful cataract surgery, people may face problems like vision deterioration or problems with glare and light scattering. This is called posterior lens capsule opacification which occurs due to thickening of the back or posterior capsule surrounding the implanted lens. When small parts of natural lens remain I the eyes after removal, cells start growing and cause this defect.

What are the Post-Treatment Guidelines For Cataract?

Healing generally occurs within eight weeks, which is a comparatively short time period. Patients are advised to be more cautious and avoid straining their eyes for at least one month post operation.

Patients are also advised to use eye shields and eye patches for some times after the surgery to avoid any complication. Eye drops according to doctor’s advice must be taken regularly. People must be extra cautious to prevent water, soap and pressure on the eyes.

How Should I Sleep After Cataract Surgery?

After Cataract surgery, person should sleep with protective eye covering. Person should not sleep on the side eye being operated. Patient may feel sleepy after surgery and he should sleep with the protective shield placed over eye for several days or as per recommended by surgeon. A complete sleep should be taken after application of eye drops in operated eye to avoid pain if persist any. A person facing sleep problems once undergoing cataract surgery is more likely reported improved sleep patterns.

How Long Does it Take to Recover?

Cataract surgery is done on an outpatient basis, that is, the patients go home on the day of surgery itself. Healing generally takes a short period of time and is around eight weeks.

On the initial days, people feel discomfort but this goes away as the person gets more used to the artificial lens. Vision also gets clearer with passing days, unless there be other complications or eye related problems.

What is the Price of the Treatment in India?

Initial stage cataract which do not require surgical operations are less expensive as these can be treated with glasses, contact lens use etc. But, cost of surgical operations for cataract treatment is high and involves around Rs 1,50,000- RS. 2,00,000

Are the Results of the Treatment Permanent?

Unless there be any other eye diseases like glaucoma, treatments for cataract are permanent. It is simple and painless and yields permanent results with rare complications. After surgery, people get clearer vision and blurs and clouds from the eyes disappear.

How can you prevent cataracts from getting worse?

These are the ways in which cataracts can be prevented:

  • Eating the right food:

    People who are diabetic are on the verge of getting cataract faster, therefore, people need to maintain their sugar level. Patients must eat lots of green leafy vegetables and eating foods rich in antioxidants like selenium, beta-carotene, Vitamin C and E may also help.

  • Keeping a check on your habits:

    One must keep healthy habits if he or she is suffering from cataract. It is said that people who smoke increase their chances of getting cataracts.

  • Protecting eyes from the sun:

    The eyes must be protected from Ultraviolet rays as it is harmful to the eyes with cataract. Therefore to protect eyes from sun sunglasses should be worn and they must be UV rays protectant.

  • Regularly visiting your eye doctor:

    Even if a person is not having any problem in the eyes then also regular visits to the eye specialist should be made. If you are having cataract then visiting a doctor is a healthy habit.

What are the Alternatives to the Treatment?

There are alternative ways to treat cataract. Apart from surgery, ayurvedic treatment also helps to reverse cataract. Taking proper intake of balanced diet will also help cure it. In Ayurveda, cataract is known as timira or linga nasha.

Early stages of cataract can be effectively treated with Ayurveda. Foods like eggs, fish (fatty fish like salmon) , green leaves, fruits like avocado, bell peppers, carrots etc. help to reverse and prevent it. Changes in the lifestyle like increasing light in the house, limiting night driving, keeping diabetes under control also helps to prevent cataracts and provides longevity of vision.

What is the Home Remedies After Cataract Surgery?

Ginger tea

  • Ginger tea not solely tastes smart however conjointly helps in treating respiratory disorder and cough.

Mixture of lemon, cinnamon and honey

  • Another effective home remedy for respiratory disorder and cough could be a mixture of lemon, cinnamon and honey.
  • This syrup effectively cures cold and cough.

Luke-warm water

  • Drink luke-warm water frequently as it helps in fighting against common cold, cough and sore throat.
  • Warm water reduces inflammation within the throat and helps in replenishing the fluids and infection out of the body.

Milk and turmeric

  • An essential ingredient found in the majority Indian kitchens, turmeric has a strong antioxidant which helps in treating many health problems.
  • Turmeric mixed in heat milk could be a common and effective thanks to fight against cold and cough.

Gargle with salt-water

  • This is an old medical aid that effectively treats cough and cold.
  • Adding turmeric in this salt-water is also beneficial.

Honey and brandy

  • Brandy is known to keep your chest warm as it increases the body's temperature and mixing honey in brandy helps in fighting a cough.

Spiced tea

  • Add tulsi, ginger and black pepper while preparing your tea and this spiced tea is great for your health.
  • These 3 ingredients play a very important role in fighting a typical cold and cough.
  • Honey, lime juice and warm water
  • This is an ideal dose to enhance digestion and for the circulation system.
  • Adding honey to luke-lime water is that the best resolution in dominant respiratory disorder and cough.

Flaxseeds for cold and cough

  • Flaxseeds are another effective remedy to cure common cold and cough. You can boil flax seeds until it thickens and strain it.
  • Add a couple of drops of juice and honey to that and consume the mixture for cold and cough relief.

Popular Questions & Answers

Hi sir, I am using panderm nm cream from 4 to 5 years im not getting any side effects, if I stop using for months my face will turn black like before. Bt I want to use that cream for ever can i? Because it makes my skin fair and clear.

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, Diploma In Dermatology And Venerology And Leprosy (DDVL)
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Panderm nm cream is a steroid cream and should not be used for a long time. It may cause stretch marks and cataract and glaucoma and multiple infections. Consult a dermatologist at the earliest and change the cream, also get your eyes tested by op...

Hi, my grand mother has 65 years and she has eye cataract and gone through surgery for right eye and after 5 years of surgery she went for another eye surgery and after that right eye she has problem so again she consulted doctor there they treated her laser clean now she has problem with same right eye she has burning sensation & itching& sometimes watery eye problem she is suffering please help me with this query?

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Hello madam. Post cataract surgery, there is a formation of some kind of white opacity over the lens (known as pco). It occurs in almost all the patients, despite the best surgical techniques and is treated with laser shots. She must have gained a...
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I am a 28 year old male with myopia of -4 in left eye and -5 in right eye and astigmatism of -1 on both eyes. My myopia increased by -0.25 on both eyes in the past 2 years while astigmatism remained the same. How long will my myopia increase? Or is this is the stabilized myopia that I will have now? I checked my retina also and they said there is nothing to worry. I am eating a lot of fresh fruits nowadays what else can I do to take care of my eyes?

MBBS, MS - Ophthalmology
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Hello. 0.25 dioptre of increase in myopia is relatively insignificant clinically compared to same power of cylinder power. Usually increase in spherical power by more than 0.5d in 12 months is considered unstable. So you need not worry at all abou...
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