February 01, 2016 427
What is Cataract?
You've probably heard of the term multiple times but do you know what it entails? Cataract is essentially the clouding of the lens in the eye that affects one’s vision. It's a common occurrence in older people and can take effect in either or both eyes. However, it cannot spread from 1 eye to the other and the presence of it in one eye doesn't affect the chances of cataract spreading to the other eye. The types of cataract that exist other than age related cataract are secondary, traumatic, congenital and radiation cataracts.
Causes of Cataract
As seen in the diagram below, the lens is located behind the pupil and iris. The mechanism involved here is very much similar to that of a camera lens where light is focused onto the back of the eye to record an image. The lens function by adjusting the eye’s focus and is made of mostly protein and water. The protein is arranged in a precise order that keeps the lens clear and permits the passing of light. As we age, the clumping of these proteins may start to cloud a small area of the lens. Over time, the cataract may get larger and affect more of one’s quality of vision.
Those at higher risk of developing cataract
- Diabetes patients
- Cigarette Smokers
- Alcohol over-consumption
- Environmental hazards (exposure to sunlight and radiation)
Symptoms and Detection Methods
Some of the most common symptoms of cataract are
- Cloudy / blurry vision
- Faded colors
- Poor night vision
- Double vision
- Continuous glare
- Normal vision
- Vision of average person with cataract.
The method of detention or diagnosis of cataract can be done via a 3-phase eye exam consisting of a visual acuity test, dilated eye exam and a tonometry test.
What can YOU do to protect your vision?
Aside from avoiding the above mentioned diseases, it's a healthy practice to wear sunglasses if you're constantly exposed to sunlight either when driving or when doing daily activities. Eating healthily is also highly advised by doctors, especially foods high in antioxidants. Besides that, for those over the age of 60, it is encouraged that an eye exam be taken at least once every 2 years.
Options for treatment of advanced cataract are scarce. However, as there are multiple stages of cataract development, early detection can prove key to preventing cataract from fully developing and becoming a sight stealing condition. Some of the symptoms of early cataract treatment can be improved by wearing specialized sunglasses and being in brighter lit areas more often. If the above treatments do not significantly improve the vision, it's highly likely that surgery is the only option left to consider. So far, there are 2 types which are Phacoemulsification (Phaco) and Extracapsular surgeries.
Ambiverted thinker with a big heart and big dreams. Chronically clumsy but always emotionally aware. I truly believe that with every great opportunity comes great responsibility to do great things. View all articles by Thiiban.