A cataract is blurring of the lens of the eye. The lens is oval-shaped and mostly consists of water and protein. It is located at the back of the iris and pupil. The lens protein molecules are organized in a way that makes it clear so that light can pass through it to the retina. The focus of the eye is also adjusted by the lens, enabling images to be visible either from near or far. This light is converted to nerve signals that are directed to the brain and interpreted as vision. The lens is supposed to be transparent for the retina to achieve a sharp image. If it is not, as in patients with cataracts, vision becomes fuzzy.
The only method to completely fix cataracts is surgery. The cataract removal surgery is very effective and simple most of the time. Surgery is, however, not always required and patients can be recommended to wait to have it for months or even years. The majority of people affected by cataracts can enhance their vision sufficiently with the assistance of contacts, eyeglasses, and other vision supports.
Cataract surgery in adults is usually determined by the level of vision loss. Vision loss that interferes with daily activities and quality of life is typically the stage in which surgery becomes necessary.
Treatment options for cataracts in kids will be determined by the possibility of negative effects to the development of vision.
Signs and Symptoms of Cataracts
The symptoms may of cataracts may not be noticeable initially. Any visible changes in the eye, however, can be cause for concern and should always be seen by an eye doctor. The symptoms of cataracts include:
• Light sensitivity and glare
• Frequent changes in glasses or contacts prescriptions
• Poor night vision
• Changes in color vision and dimming of colors
• One eye having double vision
Surgery is the only effective cure for cataracts.
When Should Surgery be Considered?
If you have cataracts, you should consult with your doctor and discuss your options as far as surgery is concerned. When cataracts start interfering with normal life, such as reading or driving, eye specialists often recommend cataract surgery.
The choice of cataract surgery is up to you and your eye doctor. Since cataracts normally do not affect the eye more than can be corrected with glasses or contacts, the majority of people do not require immediate removal surgery.
Deferring the surgery does no mean that the surgery will become less effective later. However, it is important to evaluate the effects of the surgery and ask your doctor any questions you may have. Your doctor may then suggest routine checkups to monitor the condition if you choose not to undergo cataract surgery.
During Cataract Surgery
During cataract surgery, the clouded lens is removed and replaced with a transparent, artificial lens. Known as an intraocular lens, the artificial lens is placed in the same position as the natural lens and becomes a permanent part of your eye. Some things to consider about the surgery are:
- Some individuals with other eye complications may be unable to use the artificial lens. Stronger glasses and contact lenses are given in such occasions after the cataract is removed.
- The cataract surgery is typically an outpatient procedure.
- Although most people remain awake during the procedure, the operating doctor normally uses local anesthesia to numb the area around the eye.
- This type surgery is normally very safe, although bleeding and infection may occur in some cases. The surgery also increases the chances of having a retinal detachment.
- Discomfort for several days is normal after this surgery, but most people typically recover after eight weeks.
- If the surgery is required for both eyes, doctors usually space the surgeries out, about a month or two apart