Causes, prevention, and treatments for Cataract
I am Dr. Sunita Lulla Gur, a senior eye specialist at Accuvision Eye Centre and AcuVision center. It has been long that people wonder, why we see less with ageing. Of which, ageing is itself a problem of many disease, or may be degenerative changes which are taking place in a body, of one, cataract is an important thing that happens. Now let’s see what is cataract. Now when we see the complete structure of the eye, this is the cornea; then you have a natural lens, which is situated over here, and then we have the retina. So whenever the degeneration, normally when we see, the lens, which is more clear, okay? Now, what happens , with ageing, this degeneration of the proteins which are there in the lens, and it leads to opacification.
Now when we look into this, this is opacification of the lens which is happening. Now because of this opacification, what happens is, the natural clarity of the lens is lost, and then we see through this haze which is there. So this reduces, or leads to the diminishing of vision, or blurred vision. So, this condition is called as cataract. Now cataract can be of many types, and depending on the stage, your vision will be affected. Sometimes what happens in early cataracts, you will have little bit blurred vision, but you can cope up with your daily day to day life. There are different types of cataract; age-related, in children also we have seen, which is since birth and which is called as congenital cataract.
Traumatic cataract, it means, whenever there is injury to the eye, then it can lead to traumatic cataract. Or sometimes, drugs; there are some kind of drugs which can cause cataract, like if you are on, long term on steroids, or other drugs, then it can lead to cataract formation. So keeping that in mind, you should always have your regular eye check up, once you are at the age of 40 or 50 years old. In Indian scenario, as we are a tropical country, too much of sunlight and UV radiation, the chances of cataract formation in Indian scenario is much higher than the counterpart in American scenario which we have seen. Now coming to, when should I get the cataract surgery one? Now when we say that you have cataract, one should not panic, because it is a normal ageing process which is happening; and surgery is the only treatment option available, as there are no drops or drugs or oral medication available to prevent it. Yes the role of anti-oxidants and good healthy diet is definitely there, to prevent early onset of cataract, okay? Now coming to the treatment or the preventive part.
Now how can you prevent cataract? As I already said, it is an ageing process, nothing can be done, but still, get a regular eye check up, have a healthy diet, including greens, reds, and yellow vegetables in your diet. Take some, well, you can include some almonds, and walnuts in your diet. These are all antioxidants which can delay the degenerative process. Now another thing is, as I said, there are no drops etc, so there is no need to put any drops for that. Sometimes people do take over-the-counter drops, many say that these are the drops which will be able to reduce the cataract, but then nothing happens. Now when can one get the surgery done? Now we have seen that surgically, it is one of the safest procedures to get done.
Nowadays with technology, so many good machines are available, the evaluation protocols have improved, what are seeing. So nowadays we do laser surgery, microincision surgery which is the key-hole surgery, through a, very small incision, that is made; and then cataract is emulsified and removed. Now, because we make a very micro hole surgery or a very small hole surgery, the wound healing is very fast. Now the techniques which are available to remove cataract is, one is laser, where we make a very small laser cut over here, where no blade is used, and a small phaco emulsification, for objects like the tip of this pen, if you see, it is entered, and whole of this cataract which is there, is emulsified. The cataract which is there is emulsified, and intraocular lens is implanted, and then the wound healing occurs, and the next day, or within 2 to 3 days, you are back to your normal work.
You have to take some precautions, which we will explain to you later. So this process is called as laser technique. Then we have another technique which is microincision, which is a very small key hole that is done, around 1.8-2 mm, through which the probe goes inside, it emulsifies the cataract, the cleaning is done and then the lens is implanted. The 3rd technique is phacoemulsification, where again, the incision size is slightly more than the microincision hole, but still it can be moved, through a small incision and the wound healing is faster. So, well, what was happening in the initial days, we were making incisions of this size, to this size, but now the incisions are hardly around 1.5 to 3.5 mm, which helps in healing process. It does not induce any number, and again the intraocular lens which is implanted, it is implanted as according to your eye power, so that most of the time, it will help you to get rid of glasses for distance, but for reading, you will require some glasses, for reading.
There are different types of intraocular lenses to be implanted, depending on the need of the patient, the profession of the patient; after discussion with the doctor, one can decide, what kind of lenses one can go for. Now, after care treatment of cataract if we look, it is not very hard. Only, well, some precautions you have to take, like no water should go inside the eyes, no rubbing of eyes. These are the two main precautions to be done. Otherwise you can carry forward your daily routine as you were doing before. Regarding what can be done, after, as in, preventive, if we say, there are many patients who come an ask me, “Doctor, how can I prevent cataract?” , so I say to them, that as I cannot prevent cataract in my eyes, how can I suggest? But still, as I already said, good eating habits.
Smoking is again, one of the causes of cataract early. So do not smoke, or if you are smoking, quit smoking or reduce it. Third, again, if you are on UV exposure lights too much, like working in sunlight, always wear protective glasses, so that the UV radiation does not fall directly in your eyes, and then the amount of cataract can be reduced. If you all do not take any steroids on your own, always consult a doctor before you start steroids. So these are the precautionary things which can prevent cataract, from happening. And once you develop, you should be seen by an ophthalmologist. Get your eyes checked and then decide with your doctor that when you should get your surgery done.
Thank you. For further details, if you want to know, you can, contact me. I am Dr Sunita at Accuvision Eye Centre and you can book your appointments to Lybrate.com or call to Lybrate and also, you can visit the website. Thank You.