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.
Basically, there are four types of cataracts depending upon the causes behind it and it is mentioned as below:
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.
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.
This is a form of cataract which is due to genetics problems or associated with intrauterine infection or trauma.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
These are the ways in which cataracts can be prevented:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mixture of lemon, cinnamon and honey
Milk and turmeric
Gargle with salt-water
Honey and brandy
Flaxseeds for cold and cough