Cataract is a medical condition that causes the eyesight to be cloudy, or misty. An opacification in the clear lens of the eye develops over time, which leads to a gradual decrease in vision. Cataracts can affect one or both eyes.
What’s a Cataract?
Cataract is a medical condition that causes the eyesight to be cloudy, or misty. An opacification in the clear lens of the eye develops over time, which leads to a gradual decrease in vision. Cataracts can affect one or both eyes. Although the progress of development is slow, it can still have adverse effects. Most people develop cataracts at the age of 55, however, this medical condition may appear occasionally in children and even infants.
The most common symptom of Cataract is the blurred, and misty vision. A person with cataract in its early stage may not be able to notice the difference. But as soon as the effects are evident, it is recommended to consult your doctor. Unfortunately, there is no medicine or eye drops that can treat cataracts. The only way to remove the cataract is by surgery. The cataract’s progress may be slow, but it cannot be stopped when it starts to develop. Here are the symptoms that are usually present in patients with cataracts:
- Misty and cloudy vision
- Light sensitivity
- Faded colors
- Double vision
- General vision impairment
Possible Causes of Cataracts
A Cataract is a health condition that normally develops as we grow older. However, there are a variety of other factors that is more likely for an individual to develop cataracts. Here are some of the possible causes:
- Trauma – An eye injury can develop into a cataract over time. The swelling from a blunt trauma may develop into complications like the thickening and whitening of the fibers in the lens of the eyes. While the swelling resolves normally, the white spot or coloration may remain. This is normal to mild cases of blunt eye trauma. However, in severe cases, the damage can have more adverse effects. The study says that around 0.7% up to 8.0% cases of Electrical Injuries lead to the development of Cataract.
- Medications – Prescribed drugs may cause cataracts to develop, especially those with steroids. Corticosteroid is the primary element that may increase the chance of developing a cataract. Triparanol may have the same side effect. An excessive constriction of the pupil called Miotics is another factor that may cause cataracts.
- Diabetes – People with diabetes usually develop cataracts earlier. The complications of diabetes include the damaging of small blood vessels in the retina, resulting in damage to the eyes. This condition is known as Diabetic Retinopathy. Because of this, the risk of developing cataracts is increased to diabetic patients.
- Skin Diseases – The eye’s lens and skin’s embryological origin are the same. So, they can both be affected by similar health conditions. People with eczema may develop an eye condition called shield ulcer cataracts. This condition is uncommon and very rare.
- Low Vitamin-C – The low consumption of vitamin-c may cause the occasional development of cataract. However, the study says that even with regular vitamin-c intake, beneficial attributes are not evident.
- Age – Perhaps age is the most common cause of cataracts. The proteins present in the lens of an eye degrades over time. There is no exact age bracket to determine when a cataract may develop, since younger people may also develop cataracts, however, people over the age of 55 typically recognize the symptoms.
Is Surgery Necessary?
When your vision decreases to a point where performing basic tasks like reading, driving and watching tv become too difficult, it may be the best time to consider having surgery. Problems with the ability to see clearly may affect a person’s level of independence. Although cataracts can be removed at any stage of the development, it depends on the severity of the condition. A person with cataracts can opt to have surgery even at the early stage.
Surgical Treatment Method
Cataract surgery is the process of removing the natural lens in the eye when it becomes too clouded. It is then replaced by an artificial plastic lens. The advantage of the artificial lens is that it rarely requires care, and it improves vision significantly. The whole procedure usually lasts less than an hour, and only local anesthesia is administered. There are also 2 types of Cataract Surgery:
- Small-Incision Cataract Surgery – This procedure involves an incision in the cornea, in which a small probe is then inserted to the side of the eye. To soften and break up the lens, the tiny probe produces an ultrasound wave, so that the lens can be safely removed. The process is also known as Phacoemulsification. This is the most common method used by modern health professionals.
- Extracapsular Surgery – The procedure requires a slightly larger incision in the cornea. Instead of breaking the cornea into tiny little pieces, this method removes the lens core in one piece instead. This process replaces the natural lens with an artificial plastic lens called Intraocular Lens, also known as IOL. These plastic lenses come in different forms. All of which help improve the quality of focus, and vision.
Risks of Post Cataract Surgery
Complications of Post Cataract Surgery are usually rare; however, it is still possible. Generally, cataract surgery is relatively safe, with a high percentage of success rate. Most cases can be treated effectively, but a considerable decrease in vision can still occur. Here are the possible complications:
- Eye infection and inflammation
- Bleeding in the eye
- Cornea swelling
- Retinal detachment
- Dislocation of the artificial eye lens
- Fluid build-up inside the retina
- General vision degradation
Postoperative Care and Treatment
The study says that about 10% of the patients that underwent the procedure develop Posterior Capsule Opacification.
The common complaint is cloudy vision. This usually develops 2 years after the surgery.
What to Do?
YAG laser treatment is the answer. YAG laser or laser capsulotomy is a specialized laser treatment to help improve the patient’s vision after surgery and is a recommended method for postoperative care. Presently, the YAG laser is the only effective method in terms of laser treatment that can treat complications.
How Laser Capsulotomy Works
In laser capsulotomy, the acronym YAG stands for Yttrium-Aluminum-Garnet. The YAG laser method can be an office or a hospital procedure. The YAG laser capsulotomy is a very safe and effective method. Aside from being a painless procedure, YAG laser only lasts for a couple of minutes. Laser capsulotomy is a beneficial process in postoperative care.
Basically, the use of Yag laser is to create a hole in the iris to clear the frosting at the back of the artificial lens. During the procedure of laser capsulotomy, your doctor may use a magnifying contact lens for better precision in aiming at the surface that needs to be treated. This is how a typical YAG laser procedure is done.
A regular visit to the doctor is highly recommended to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment. Once the eyes are fully healed, your doctor will recommend if glasses or contact lenses are needed, after evaluation. Keep in mind that careful monitoring by your doctor and self-checks will help.