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Cataracts: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment?

Cataract is a type of eye disease. In this ophthalmologic condition, the lenses become cloudy and opaque and this causes a disturbance in the vision of the person. Cataracts are common, often develop slowly and can affect one or both eyes, especially when aging.

Cataracts are formed when protein and water accumulate in the eyes. As people age, around 50-60, these proteins start to build up and accumulate as clouds, thus blurs the vision. Cataracts may also develop due to other medical conditions, like diabetes, from intake of medicines such as corticosteroids or diuretics and also due to ultraviolet light, or radiation. These are called secondary cataracts. Cataracts can also be inherited right from birth or due to some injury.

The most prominent symptom of cataract is blurred cloudy foggy, or filmy vision. Changes in color reception and nearsightedness are two common symptoms in elderly people. People face glare problem during the day and night, perceive double vision and have troubles with lenses and eye glasses.

In the early stages of cataract, vision can be improved using new glasses, strong bifocals, magnification, appropriate lighting or other visual aids. This way, further cataract can be prevented. But in the later stages, surgeries are performed to remove cataract. Cataract surgery is simple and painless and very successful in restoring vision. There are three standard forms of surgery for cataracts – a standard monofocal intraocular lens (IOL), a multifocal intraocular lens (IOL) or an accommodating lens.

How is the 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. Cataract 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? (When is the treatment done?)

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 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?

There are some complications associated with cataract surgery. It carries a risk of infection and bleeding. Cataract surgery 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?

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 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. Cataract surgery is simple and painless and yields permanent results with rare complications. After cataract surgery, people get clearer vision and blurs and clouds from the eyes disappear.

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 cataract. 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 cataract 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.

Safety: Disease Effectiveness: High Timeliness: High Relative Risk: Medium Side Effects: High Time For Recovery: Low Price Range:

500- Rs 5,00,000 /-

Popular Health Tips

Cataract Risk Factors - What Should You Know?

Ophthalmologist, Navi Mumbai
Cataract Risk Factors - What Should You Know?

Cataract usually affects people who are above 40. It is a blurring of the eye’s lens, which lies at the back of pupil and iris. It is the most usual cause behind the loss of vision for people above 40. Research also states that it is a major cause of blindness in the world.

Types of cataracts:

  1. Subcapsular cataract: People who are diabetic and those are taking high steroids are more prone to subcapsular cataract. In this type, the cataract develops at the back of the lens.
  2. Nuclear cataract: A nuclear cataract is related to aging. It usually affects the central portion of the lens of the eye.
  3. Cortical cataract: It is a white opacity, which begins from the periphery of the lens and spreads up to the center of the lens in a spot-like manner. It usually affects the cortex of the lens.


  1. In the beginning, cataract affects a small portion of your eye and affects your vision.
  2. Your vision gradually gets blurred.
  3. Too much exposure to the light might cause glare.
  4. In nuclear cataract, you may notice a short-lived improvement of your near vision.
  5. In subcapsular cataract, you cannot notice any symptoms in the initial days.

Cause of cataract:
The lens inside our eyes acts like a camera and it is made of protein and water. The protein helps in keeping the lens clear. But with aging, the protein may start to form a lump, which causes cloudiness in the eye area. With time the cataract spreads all over the lens and creates more cloudiness, which ultimately leads to blindness. The factors which usually trigger cataract are

  1. Age
  2. UV rays from sunlight
  3. Obesity
  4. Hypertension
  5. Smoking
  6. Consumption of high dosage steroids medicines
  7. Statin medicines
  8. History of eye inflammation or any eye injury
  9. History of eye surgery
  10. Too much consumption of alcohol
  11. Hormone replacement therapy
  12. Family history of cataract

Prevention of cataract:
It cannot be guaranteed whether cataract can be prevented or not. A study shows that cataract is caused due to the oxidative changes in the lens of the eye. Nutrition studies have shown that consuming vegetables and fruits, which are high in antioxidants, may help in preventing cataract. Dietary intake of vitamin E, carotenoids lutein, and zeaxanthin from supplements and food items can decrease the risk of developing a cataract. Sunflower seeds, spinach and almonds are good sources of vitamin E. Kale, spinach, other leafy green veggies are the good sources of zeaxanthin and lutein. Food items that contain Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin C decrease the chances of cataract.

Last, but not the least, when you step out, always wear a sunglasses, which has the ability to block UV rays.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

4203 people found this helpful

Ayurvedic Cataract Treatment

Ayurveda, Rewari
Ayurvedic Cataract Treatment

In Ayurveda this disease is called timira or linga nasha. Aggravated vata is considered to be responsible for the manifestation of this disease. One of the properties of vata is to make things dry up. When the lens of the eye loses its transparency, vision becomes blocked. This condition is known as a cataract.

If treated at an early stage, Ayurvedic treatment is very effective in cataract. During Ayurvedic treatment the aim is to alleviate the aggravated body energies and nourishing and strengthen the nerves and tissues of the eye.

Diet & Lifestyle Advice

  • To correct aggravated vata, ghee is highly recommended in cataract, especially, maha triphala ghee. Maha triphala ghee provides nourishment and strengthens the nerves and other tissues of the eye ball. For a person suffering from cataract, it is of utmost importance that he remains free from constipation. Therefore, triphala is good in constipation as well as beneficial for eyesight.
  • Cow’s ghee, milk, butter, rice, wheat, moong dal, banana, methi, spinach, grapes, pomegranates, apples and oranges are recommended.
  • Cataract sufferers should avoid pungent, bitter, sour and saline food.
  • They should avoid excessive heat and exposure to sun.
  • Avoid excess worry, anxiety and anger because it aggravates vata and pitta doshas.
1 person found this helpful

Cataract - Defining The Types In Detail!

Ophthalmologist, Jodhpur
Cataract - Defining The Types In Detail!

One of the most common ailments that affect elders the most is cataract. Cataract develops gradually and can occur in one or both eyes and if not treated in time can cause blindness. Most cataracts are not visible to the naked eye, but in some cases, a dense cataract can make the pupil appear white. A cataract can be defined as a dense, cloudy build up of protein masses on the eye lens. This obstructs the light falling on the retina and does not allow the retina to form a clear image.

Advancing in age is one of the most common causes of cataracts. Along with this, there are several other factors that play a role in the development of cataracts as well. These include smoking,exposure to ultraviolet radiation, long term use of steroids, trauma, radiation therapy and diabetes. Anything that triggers an overproduction of chemically altered oxygen molecules in the body can increase your risk of suffering from this condition. Hypertension and a family history of cataracts can also put you at a higher risk of developing cataracts. Poor nutrition or a diet that is deficient in antioxidants can also put you at a high risk of suffering from this condition.

Cataracts can be categorized on the basis of where and how they develop in the eye. This categorization is based on location:

  1. Nuclear Cataract: These develop in the middle of the lens and turn the center of the eye yellow. Nuclear cataracts are typically associated with aging.
  2. Cortical cataract: These develop around the edges of the nucleus and are wedge shaped. Gradually, spokes emitted from these wedges work themselves towards the center of the eye.
  3. Posterior capsular cataract: These are among the faster growing cataracts and develop at the back of the lens.They are also known as subcapsular cataracts. Cataracts triggered by diabetes or the prolonged use of steroids usually fall in this category.

Categorization based on how they develop:

  • Congenital cataract: These are present at birth or develop within the first year of a baby's life. Congenital cataracts are rare.
  • Secondary cataract: These are triggered as a side effect of medications or diseases like glaucoma and diabetes. Prolonged use of steroids like prednisone can also lead to the development of such cataracts.
  • Traumatic cataract: Cataract  that is developed as a result of an injury to the eye is known as traumatic cataracts. They have a very slow rate of development.
  • Radiation cataract: It develops as a side effect of radiation therapy used to treat cancer.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

4123 people found this helpful

Cataract Surgery - Know More About It!

MD Ophthalmology, Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS)
Ophthalmologist, Bangalore
Cataract Surgery - Know More About It!

A cataract is defined as a clouding of 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.

Types of cataracts:

  1. Senile CataractThis is the commonest of all. It is age-related clouding of the lens. It can affect the near or distance vision and can also cause glare and change in glasses power.
  2. Secondary Cataract: It can be developed after surgery for other eye problems like glaucoma and other health conditions such as diabetes.
  3. Traumatic Cataract: It can develop many years later after an injury caused to your eye.
  4. Congenital Cataract: As the term explains, the disease may be inborn or some children might develop it at a later stage which often affects both eyes. 
  5. Radiation Cataract: It can form after you are exposed to some form of radiation.

A cataract surgery involves the extraction or cleaning of the cloudy lens, which is then replaced by a clear artificial lens.

Why does it happen? 

There are lens 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. 

When should you opt for a cataract surgery?

Believe it or not, but till date no eye drop or medication has proven to reverse or prevent the formation of a cataract. If a cataract is affecting your nearsightedness or alteration in your prescription, then new prescription eyeglasses may help to better your blurred vision. However, the only treatment for a cataract is the surgical removal of your natural lens. And, most eye doctors recommend this surgery only when the problem becomes severe and starts hampering your day-to-day activities, such as studying or driving at night.

1 person found this helpful

Cataract and Phaco Surgery - What Should You Know?

MBBS, MS - Ophthalmology
Ophthalmologist, Delhi
Cataract and Phaco Surgery - What Should You Know?

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:

  1. Blurred vision
  2. Nearsightedness
  3. Changes in the perception of colour
  4. Night blindness
  5. Increased sensitivity to glares
  6. 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:

  1. Pain and redness of the eye
  2. Vision problems
  3. Swelling of the eye
  4. Discharge from the eye
  5. Flashes or floaters in the patient’s vision

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3837 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

Dear Doctor, Please let me know 1) Whether laser cataract surgery is the best, safest and without any pain. 2) Can use of bifocal avoid use of any specs. 3) Approximate cost of laser surgery with bifocal iol in india Thanks.

General Physician, Mumbai
Phaco is the best way for cataract surgery and we can put a numbered lens inside so you will not have to wear any spectacle and it can cost you approximately 30-80 thousand rupees after clinical examination.

My age is 55 when I checked eyes, doctor informed having cataract started. Hence prescribed C NAC eye drops. Any other advice to avoid further growth of cataract.

DHMS (Diploma in Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery), FWT (W.B)
Homeopath, 24 Parganas
Hi Lybrate user for your problem you can take homoeopathic medecine Calcarea flour 12x 4tabs thrice daily with warm water &silicea 200 2 drops weekly 2 dose every after 3 days 3 drops mixed with half cup water. Cinararia meritima eye drop (west Germany company ), it's help improve your eye sight, Take care.
1 person found this helpful

To laser treatment for cataract .how much will be cost of each eye. My Dad age is 73.

General Physician, Nashik
There are two types of Cataract surgery's Manual Method and Phaco surgery (Laser). In manual the recovery time is upto a month and stitches are involved and depending upon the lens you chose the the surgery cost will range from 7000INR to 10000INR Phaco surgery is done by lasers, hence no stitches and less recovery time, here too different types of Len's are available with hospital depending upon what you choose or what doctor recommends, the surgery will cost you between 15,000 INR to 35,000 INR.
2 people found this helpful

Table of Content

What is the treatment?
How is the treatment done?
Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
Are there any side effects?
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
How long does it take to recover?
What is the price of the treatment in India?
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
What are the alternatives to the treatment?