What is Cataract?
Our eye has a natural lens inside it which focuses light to the back of the eye so that we can see. When there is a build-up of proteins in this natural lens of the eye, it becomes cloudy, prevents light from passing through and impairs vision. This clouding of the lens of the eye is called as cataract.
Cataract is the most common cause of blindness in India and is responsible for 51% of the blindness in the world, according to World Health Organization.
What are the Causes of Cataract?
Our eye lens is majorly made up of water and proteins. As we age, this protein may clump together and gradually clouds more and more areas of the lens, thus preventing light from passing through. However, not all old people develop cataract at the same pace. We have often heard how our elders would have crystal clear eyesight even at a very old age. There are certain factors which increase one’s risk of developing a cataract.
Risk factors for Cataracts:
· Obesity, Smoking and Excess Alcohol consumption
· Diseases like High Blood Pressure and Diabetes
· Prolonged intake of Corticosteroid medications and Statin medications to lower cholesterol
· Exposure to Air pollution, Excess UV Radiation from Sunlight
· Previous Eye Surgery or Eye Injury or High Spectacle powers for Near Sightedness
What are the Types of Cataract?
Types of Cataract are mainly:
1. Age Related Cataract
– This is the most common type, which occurs as a result of the aging process.
2. Congenital Cataracts
– Some babies are born with Cataract due to an injury, infection, or improper development. They may also develop cataract during their early childhood.
3. Secondary Cataract
– This type of Cataract may occur because of medical problems like diabetes or due to continued use of certain medications, exposure to UV radiation or certain toxic substances.
4. Traumatic Cataracts
– A lens may also turn cloudy after an eye injury.
What are the Symptoms of Cataract?
The most common symptom is blurry or dim vision, as if you were seeing everything through a muddy car-windshield.
Other Cataract Symptoms are:
Frequent changes in spectacle numbers or a reduced need for reading glasses (due to progressive near sightedness)
Problem driving at night due to difficult night vision and glare from headlights
Fading of colours
It is possible to have cataract without experiencing any vision problems. As the cataract slowly grows and clouds more and more of your lens, you will begin to notice symptoms.
How is Cataract Diagnosed?
1. You will be asked to read an eye chart to check your spectacle powers
2. Your Cataract Surgeon will then examine your eyes using a slit lamp microscope.
3. Your eyes will be dilated with eye drops so that the back of your eye, called the retina is examined.
What is the Treatment of Cataract?
Not all cloudy lenses need Cataract Surgery right away. In the initial stages, it may be possible to correct your eyesight with spectacles. Contrary to popular belief, eye drops and medications cannot cure cataracts.
If cataract is causing significant vision loss to affect your daily activities, you may consider undergoing cataract surgery. Cataract Surgery involves removing the cloudy natural lens and replacing it with an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens.
How can you prevent Cataract?
Use Sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays from the sun, whenever you are outdoors.
Certain studies have shown that anti-oxidants like Vitamin C and Omega 3 Fatty Acids may reduce the risk of Cataracts. Vitamin E, Lutein and Zeaxanthin are also associated with lowering risks of cataracts.
You should have an eye test once every two years before you turn 50 and annually after that. This may be even more frequent if you have risk factors like diabetes.
Did You Know?
The word Cataract comes from the Latin word cataracta meaning waterfall and Greek word katarhaktes meaning swooping down. Some believe this refers to the white colour of water as it comes swooping down in a waterfall. The alternate meaning of the word in Latin portcullis means an obstruction and was first used by 15th century doctors to indicate an eye disease in which there was obstruction to sight.
If you are experiencing blurry vision and suspect that it is due to cataract, do visit a Cataract Surgeon right away. Undergoing cataract surgery in Mumbai is very easy, thanks to the best cataract surgeon in Mumbai at Orbit Eye Hospital. Dr Amjad Furniturewala is well known for his skill and has performed thousands of successful cataract surgeries till date. Leave aside your worries and book an appointment today.
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