Cataract: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Its Types
A cataract is a condition where the eye lens develop cloudy or white patches and leads to blurry vision. Cataracts develop slowly and can affect one or both eye. Major signs of cataracts include faded colors, blurry visions, sensitivity to bright lights, and trouble seeing at night. This creates problems while driving, reading, or writing. It increases stress in a person who may get prone to depression.
A cataract is very different from all the other eye diseases as it develops very slowly but with time it gradually affects both the eyes. It is commonly found in older people resulting in lower or blurry visions. People with cataracts are often suggested to wear lenses so that they get a clear vision.
Symptoms of Cataract
Some common symptoms of cataracts include:
- Faded or blurry vision
- Problem seeing in the dark
- Sensitivity in the eyes when exposed to the light
- Need to get lenses changed more often
- Having doubled visions
- Seeing halos around lights
- Colors appearing faded or yellowish
- Need for brighter light while reading or doing an activity
Causes of Cataract
The most common cause of cataracts is aging or eye injuries. People who are traumatized and depressed are often the victim of cataracts. Addiction to smoking and drinking are also some of the contributing factors for cataracts. It also occurs due to continuous exposure to UV Ray’s therefore, to avoid this condition, there are special glasses provided nowadays. You can always opt for one by consulting a doctor.
There are several options to treat cataracts. One of the most common and effective is surgery. During the procedure, the cloudy formation on the eyes is removed through the different types of surgical methods.
Sometimes the condition turns extremely worse and damages the optic nerve of the eye. Therefore, in these cases, surgery might also not prove to be useful and result in the loss of eyesight. To avoid such cases, make sure you contact a doctor as soon as you feel something wrong with your eyes. If you have a cataract in both the eye, surgery is the common treatment that is recommended. Doctors measure the size, shape, and power of your lenses prior to the surgery so that no complications occur after the surgery has been completed. The surgery usually takes half an hour to get completed. It is advised to rest for a few weeks after the surgery and not to take part in any kind of activity so that you do not have any risk or complications afterwards.
During this procedure, the clouded lens formed on the iris is removed and replaced with an artificial lens. Some people are able to see properly after wearing properly prescribed glasses without the need of having surgery. However, as the cataract grows you can have several problems such as doubled or blurred visions, you may also get poor night vision leading to difficulty while driving at night. Therefore, if you have such problems and the symptoms are getting worse day by day it will be recommended for you to go through surgery.
Pre Cataract Surgery
A week before the surgery the doctor will conduct several eye tests to determine the size and shape of your eye. It helps them to choose the right artificial lens for you. Before the doctor will give you some medicines to numb your eyes and for you to relax so that you don’t feel any pain.
During The Surgery
The surgeon will make a tiny incision in your iris through which he will gently suction the cataract formed in your eye. Once the cataract is removed, the doctor will replace it with an artificial lens made of plastic and close the cut. The surgery usually doesn’t take much time and does not require the need to stay overnight at the hospital. If you have a cataract in both eyes you will have to go through two surgeries with a week interval.
For a few days after the surgery, your eyes may feel itchy or sore. You may also have teary eyes and excess sensitivity to light. Therefore, your doctors will provide you with some eye drops to soothe your eyes.
For this period, you will be asked not to drive and bend on too much or do any such things that may put heavy pressure on your eyes. Your doctor may also ask you to wear your eye shield while sleeping for a few days so that your eyes get proper rest and heal quickly. If you have any other kind of problem make sure you consult your doctor right away.
Side Effects of The Surgery
There can be several side effects of cataract surgery. Most of them are very rare and can occur to only certain people, these include:
- Eye infection or swelling in the eyes
- Bleeding from the eyes
- Retinal detachment
- Droopy eyelids
- Temporary rise in eye pressure
Types of Cataract Surgery
Phacoemulsification is a new cataract surgery in which the eye’s internal lens is fused with an ultrasonic handpiece and aspirated from the eye. Aspirated fluids are substituted with irrigation of balanced salt solution to support the anterior chamber.
During phaco surgery, a surgeon makes a tiny incision at the tip of the cornea and then performs an opening in the membrane that encloses the lens. A little ultrasonic probe is then inserted, breaking up the cloudy lens into small fragments. The instrument vibrates at an ultrasonic speed to cut and nearly dissolve the lens material into little fragments. The fragments are then suctioned out of the capsule by an attachment on the probe tip.
After the lens particles are eliminated, an intraocular lens implant, generally referred to as an IOL, is implanted and placed into the lens’s natural capsule. It is injected through the tiny corneal incision by a hollowed-out tube. Once the lens is forced by, it opens and is positioned in place.
Femtosecond Cataract Surgery
It is an FDA-approved, computer-guided laser that is processed by the surgeon. This device can help the surgeon in the performance of some of the steps included in the elimination of a cataract. It can also be used in procedures conducted to correct astigmatism.
Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery (MSICS)
This technique is an unfolding of ECCE where the whole lens is sent out of the eye by a self-sealing scleral tunnel wound. A properly formed scleral tunnel is watertight and does not need suturing. The word “small” in the title indicates the wound being comparatively smaller than an ECCE, although it is still considerably larger than a phaco wound. Head-to-head trials of MSICS vs phaco in dense cataracts have seen no variation in results, but lower performing time and significantly lower costs with MSICS.
Extracapsular Cataract Extraction (ECCE)
Extracapsular cataract extraction includes the removal of almost the whole natural lens. While the elastic lens capsule that is the posterior capsule is left unimpaired to enable implantation of an intraocular lens. It involves the manual expression of the lens by a large incision created in the cornea or sclera. It is usually 10–12 mm in size.
Although it requires a larger incision and the use of stitches, the traditional method may be designated for patients with very hard cataracts or other situations in which phacoemulsification is questionable.
Intracapsular Cataract Extraction (ICCE)
It involves the removal of the lens and the enclosing lens capsule in one section. The procedure has a comparatively high rate of difficulties due to the large incision required and pressure placed on the vitreous body. It has consequently been largely replaced and is usually done in countries where working microscopes and advanced-technology equipment are easily accessible. After lens removal, an artificial plastic lens an intraocular lens implant can be set in either the anterior chamber or sutured into the sulcus.