A cataract is a clouding of the natural clear lens of the eye. Lens clouding is caused by the loss of fluid in it. A lens affected by a cataract gradually loses its transparency and becomes denser and opaquer, almost like a dirty window through which it is difficult to see.
The only effective cataract treatment is surgery. Besides, in 98% of cases, it is possible to restore vision to the state that was before the onset of the disease! The natural lens of the eye is replaced by a transparent artificial one. The operation itself lasts an average of 15-20 minutes and usually, general anesthesia is not required. Within a month, a certain postoperative regimen must be observed.
What are the causes of eye cataracts?
A cataract occurs gradually over many years, but it can also be caused by diseases, injuries to the eyes or head, radiation, smoking, various general, or ophthalmic medication. Cataracts are also observed in children.
Cataracts significantly impair the quality of vision.
Signs and symptoms of cataracts
Blurred vision (for both near and far distance with glasses)
Vision is checked using eye charts or projectors. Corrective lenses are used to make sure that the reason for the loss of vision is not inappropriate correction with glasses. In the case of a very cloudy lens, the patient sees only light.
Myopization – observed in patients who previously used (+) glasses for reading – they begin to read without glasses, but those who had (-) glasses, (-) strength increases.
Glare from light sources – even slight clouding of the lens can cause glare from light sources.
Doubling (looking with one eye) – if we close a healthy eye, then, looking with a sick eye, we see two objects in one place.
Decreased contrast vision – with reduced contrast vision, it is more difficult to distinguish objects, navigate the environment, recognize faces, and perform everyday tasks.
Changes in color vision – when the lens becomes cloudy, it also changes color. Often, a natural lens appears yellow or even pinkish. Patients may not notice changes as they occur gradually.
Causes of cataracts
• Aging. The lens consists mainly of water and protein. Over the years, these proteins are destroyed and cataracts develop.
• Congenital protein defect, genetic disease, or intrauterine infection
• Eye injury
• Eye surgery
• Eye inflammation
• Exposure to ultraviolet light (sun)
• The use of medication – steroids, tamoxifen, cytostatics, other drugs that are less associated with cataract progression (for example, statins, diuretics, hormone replacement therapy, tranquilizers, etc.).
How to diagnose the disease timely?
Reaching the age of 40, an ophthalmologist needs to be visited once a year!
The patient should be fully examined before surgery – the doctors examine the anterior part of the eye in a slit lamp and with an enlarged pupil, they examine the deeper parts of the eye. Besides, the ophthalmologists measure eye pressure and check visual acuity for far and near distances. They perform ultrasonography of the eyeball to exclude eye diseases in which cataract surgery cannot be performed. Also, the ophthalmologists calculate the desired strength of the artificial lens.
Family physician before surgery:
• Normalizes arterial hypertension
• Cancels blood thinners (if possible)
• Eliminates acute inflammatory processes in the body
• It is advisable to provide the ophthalmologist with information about diagnoses and medications used. The ophthalmologist is interested in bronchial asthma, diabetes mellitus, skin diseases, oncological diseases, allergic diseases (anesthesia, iodine, etc.).
By choosing a monofocal intraocular lens of the appropriate strength, with cataract surgery, the desired refraction can be achieved. This means that, for example, if the patient wore glasses with a strength of + 3 diopters for a far distance, the surgeon during the operation can insert an artificial lens, in which he does not need to wear glasses for a far distance. Using toric intraocular lenses, during surgery, you can get rid of astigmatism (glasses with cylindrical lenses), but by choosing premium multifocal intraocular lenses, from wearing glasses for far and near distances.