Age-related cataracts are a common disease of the eyes. A person with cataracts has a foggy or filthy natural lens in their eye. Cataract surgery is the only option for treating the problem when the lens is clouded. The hazy lens would be replaced with a clear, artificial lens during this outpatient operation.Your eyes typically have clear lenses that bend light rays to bring them into sharp focus at the back of your eyes. Because of this, you’ll have better eyesight.
Cataracts develop when the normally clear lens tissue begins to become clouded, gradually reducing your vision until you are completely blind. Fortunately, if your cataracts are caused by something other than the natural ageing process, treatment is an option. You run a larger chance of developing a cataract if you engage in certain behaviours. These consist of:
- Excessive sun exposure,
- High blood sugar,
- Use of steroid medicines, and
- Radiation exposure
There are seven early indicators of cataracts that you should be aware of
1. Cloudy Days
Cataracts first appear small and may not significantly impair your eyesight. Things could appear a bit hazy, similar to viewing an impressionist painting. Over time, this effect typically gets stronger. The world will appear foggy, fuzzy, or dark.
There are three primary forms of cataracts, each of which affects the lens in a distinct way:
- Posterior subcapsular cataracts
- Cortical cataracts, which show as thin streaks on the edge of the lens and
- Nuclear cataracts in the middle of the lens.
Those who have nuclear cataracts may have a short improvement in vision. Sometimes this feeling is referred to as “second sight.”
2. Poor Night Vision
Cataracts make it difficult for many people to see at night. Because it might be challenging to deal with the blazing lights from oncoming cars, nighttime driving can be particularly challenging.
3. Light Sensitivity
Bright light sensitivity may result from cataracts. Bright light’s glare might even be uncomfortable. This particular symptom is more prevalent in people with cataracts that begin at the back of their lenses, which prevent light from reaching their retina.
4. Glare and Halos
Light entering your eye may be diffracted as a result of lens clouding. This might cause a halo to form around bright objects. Driving can be quite challenging when there are rings surrounding every light, sometimes in different colours. This is yet another reason why having a cataract can make nighttime driving hazardous, particularly when there are lighting and headlights.
5. Double Vision
When your lens becomes cloudy with a cataract, diffraction might cause you to perceive two or more images of the same thing. Diplopia, or double vision, can result from a variety of factors, such as:
- Brain cancer
- Corneal edema
- Multiple sclerosis, and
Double vision in one eye only occurs when both eyes are open and is an indication of several major health issues, such as:
- Brain damage
- Uncontrolled hypertension or diabetes
- Graves’ illness
- Myasthenic fibrosis
It is more likely that a problem with your eye’s cornea or lens will result in monocular double vision, which makes numerous pictures appear in one eye but not the other. Diplopia is frequently caused by cataracts. This impact could disappear as the cataract gets bigger.
6. Yellow hue
The protein clumps that are clouding your lens may turn yellow or brownish as cataracts develop. All of the light entering your eye as a result has a yellow tinge. This alters the way you perceive colour and makes it harder for you to distinguish between different hues.
7. Continually altering prescription
You might have cataracts if you frequently need stronger glasses or contacts. It won’t work to just buy a sturdy set of reading glasses from the drugstore. If you notice a rapid change in your vision, consult an eye doctor. It’s possible that you have cataracts or another eye disease that might benefit from quick medical attention.
Cataracts: How Are They Diagnosed?
Your doctor will want to know every detail of your symptoms in order to determine whether you have cataracts. They’ll examine your eyes carefully and perhaps do the following tests:
- Test of visual acuity.
This is a technical term for “eye chart exam.” To test how keen your eyesight is, your doctor will ask you to read letters from a distance. You’ll test it first with one eye, then the other. Then they might perform a glare test by shining a bright light in your eye while requesting that you read the letters.
- Slit-lamp exam.
With the use of a special microscope and a strong light, your doctor is able to examine various eye parts. Your cornea, the transparent outer layer, will be examined. The iris, the colourful portion of your eye, and the lens that lies behind it will also be checked. To enable clear vision, the lens bends light as it enters your eye.
- Retinal exam
Your doctor administers drops to your eyes to dilate your pupils, the small, dark areas there that regulate how much light enters. This enables them to get a clear picture of the cataract as well as the retina, the tissue that surrounds the back of your eyes.
- Cataracts treatment
`Cataracts may only be cured by surgery, although you may not need it right immediately. If you catch the problem early, you may be able to get by with new glasses. To some extent, a stronger lens may help with vision, at least temporarily.
Try using a brighter bulb or a magnifying glass if you are having problems reading. Check out specialised glasses with an anti-glare coating if glare bothers you. They may be beneficial if you drive at night.
Cataracts may only be cured by surgery, although you may not need it right immediately. If you catch the problem early, you may be able to get by with new glasses. To some extent, a stronger lens may help with vision, at least temporarily.
There are several cataract surgeries, but they all involve the same procedure: Your surgeon removes the hazy lens and replaces it with an artificial one.
A procedure on such a delicate area as your eye may make you feel a little uneasy. But it’s a routine practice. Your eye will be numbed with a drug called local anaesthetic. You will be conscious yet unable to experience anything.
It usually only takes around 15 to 20 minutes, and there’s no need to stay the night in the hospital. A second cataract operation will not be performed unless the previous one is a success. More than 95% of those who receive this procedure report improved vision thereafter.
- Small-incision surgery:
Your doctor can refer to this as phacoemulsification. Your cornea receives a very small cut from the surgeon. Your eye is implanted with a tiny device that emits ultrasonic waves that disperse your clouded lens. The artificial lens is then inserted after the parts have been removed.
- Large-incision surgery:
Larger cataracts that threaten the eye’s clarity more than usual are more likely to need treatment than smaller cataracts. The process is also known as extracapsular cataract extraction. Your doctor will remove your clouded lens in its entirety and then insert a synthetic lens in its place. This operation will likely take you a little longer to recover from than the small-incision kind.
- Femtosecond laser surgery
Your surgeon will use a laser to cut the lens in two during this surgery. The replacement lens will then be inserted, just like with the other varieties. If you also have astigmatism, a corneal curvature that causes your vision to be hazy, your doctor might advise you to try this. Your surgeon doing cataract surgery on you can correct this by reshaping your cornea using a laser.
The Final thoughts:
- There is no known technique to prevent cataracts because doctors are unsure about what specifically causes them.
- However, because glaucoma and other problems like cataracts are prevalent in older folks, it’s crucial to have frequent eye exams.
- If you have a history of eye issues in your family or have been exposed to substances that could harm your eyes, this is extremely important.
- Adults should visit an eye doctor annually beginning at age 50 and at least every two years prior to that.
You might require more frequent eye exams if you have a history of eye issues or other health issues, such diabetes, that increase your risk for eye illness.