What is a cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. A cataract can occur in either or both eyes. It cannot spread from one eye to the other.
What causes cataracts?
The lens is made of mostly water and protein. The protein is arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens clear and lets the light pass through it. But as we age, some of the protein may clump together and starts to cloud a small area of the lens. This is a cataract. Over time, the cataract may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it harder to see.
Researchers suspect that there are several causes of cataract, such as smoking and diabetes, exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
How do cataracts affect vision?
Age-related cataracts can affect your vision in two ways:
- Clumps of protein reduce the sharpness of the image reaching the retina.
- The clear lens slowly changes to a yellowish/brownish color, adding a brownish tint to vision.
When are you most likely to have a cataract?
The term “age-related” is a little misleading. You don’t have to be a senior citizen to get this type of cataract. In fact, people can have an age-related cataract in their 40s and 50s. But during middle age, most cataracts are small and do not affect vision. It is after age 60 that most cataracts cause problems with a person’s vision.
What are the symptoms of a cataract?
The most common symptoms of a cataract are:
- Cloudy or blurry vision.
- Colors seem faded.
- Headlights, lamps, or sunlight may appear too bright. A halo may appear around lights.
- Poor night vision.
- Double vision or multiple images in one eye. (This symptom may clear as the cataract gets larger.)
- Frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses.
These symptoms can also be a sign of other eye problems. If you have any of these symptoms, check with your eye care professional.
MANAGEMENT OF CATARACT
How is a cataract treated?
A cataract needs to be removed surgically and replaced by an intraocular lens only when vision loss interferes with your everyday activities, such as driving, reading, or watching TV.
Is cataract surgery effective?
Cataract removal is one of the most common operations performed all over the world. It is also one of the safest and most effective types of surgery. In about 90 percent of cases, people who have cataract surgery have better vision afterwards.
What can I do to protect my vision?
Wearing sunglasses and a hat with a brim to block ultraviolet sunlight may help to delay cataract. If you smoke, stop. Researchers also believe that good nutrition can help reduce the risk of age-related cataract. They recommend eating green leafy vegetables, fruit, and other foods with antioxidants.
What’s involved in cataract surgery?
Surgery for cataracts is a brief and relatively simple procedure known as phacoemulsification. It usually takes 15-20 minutes to complete. However, with improvements in techniques and equipment, doctors can perform most cataract procedures as ambulatory surgery, and the patient can return home the same day. Today, more than 95 percent of cataract surgeries are successful. It is one of the safest forms of surgery.
You will arrive at I-Tek Vision Centre about 60 minutes prior to your procedure, you will be checked in and prepared for the surgery. You will meet your eye surgeon. Just before the operation begins, you will receive eye medicine to numb the eye and dilate the pupil.
We at Itek Vision Centre are committed to give our best. We are now equipped with advanced surgical armamentarium that can perform cataract surgery by MICS (Micro-Incision Cataract Surgery) technology wherein we remove the cataractous lens through a minimal 2.2 mm incision using phacoemulsification (i.e. sound waves to break the lens followed by and gentle suction of the fragments). This is replaced by an artificial fold able lens which are available in variable powers, sizes, quality and design. The opening is self sealing and does not require any stitches. Your ophthalmologist will discuss the options of intraocular lens implants available and likewise suggest you the best possible lens according to your needs.
What can I expect after surgery?
You will be discharged with a patch and shield over the eye, which will be removed by the doctor the next day. Itching and mild discomfort, watering of eyes, increased sensitivity to light are normal after cataract surgery which lasts for a week.
For a few weeks after surgery, your doctor may ask you to use eye drops to help healing and decrease the risk of infection. You will need to wear an eye shield or eyeglasses to help protect your eye. Avoid rubbing or pressing your eyes.
You should get plenty of rest and avoid heavy lifting or other types of strenuous activities; avoid climbing stairs; avoid smoke, dust and water going into your eyes.
How will cataract surgery improve my vision?
After cataract surgery, patients may notice some improvement as soon as the doctor removes the eye bandage. Most patients experience a gradual improvement in vision during the first few weeks after the surgery. If you received an IOL, you may notice that colors are very bright. The IOL is clear, unlike your natural lens that may have had a yellowish/brownish tint. Within a few months after receiving an IOL, you will get used to an improved color vision.
A new prescription for glasses will be given about a month after the surgery, when the doctor feels that the eye have been healed.
Improvement in vision and individual lifestyle determine how quickly the patients can resume the normal activities.
Are there any after-effects I should know about?
A common occurrence following cataract surgery is a clouding of the thin membrane that holds the lens in place known as ‘after-cataract’. A doctor can readily treat this problem with laser surgery. By making tiny holes in the clouded membrane to allow light to pass. This painless procedure takes only a few minutes and has a very high rate of success.
Can problems develop after surgery?
Problems after surgery are rare, but they can occur occasionally. These problems can include infection, bleeding, inflammation (pain, redness, swelling), retinal detachment, loss of vision, double vision, and high or low eye pressure. With prompt medical attention, these problems can usually be treated successfully.