Cataracts, a condition that goes untreated can lead to vision loss
Cataracts are one of the most common surgical eye diseases. Cataracts are clinically manifested by opacification of the lens which leads to a slow progressive decrease in the patient’s vision.
For vision recovery, the opacified lens must be surgically removed, as no method of restoring its transparency has been found to date. The removal of the cataracted, opacified lens is done modernly in ophthalmic surgery by phacoemulsification technique. Removal of the opacified natural lens requires its replacement with an artificial one.
Cataract surgery is one of the most effective refractive surgeries. The new implant can correct any degree of farsightedness or myopia and even astigmatism during the operation. Cataract surgery in our age completely rehabilitates vision, thus increasing the quality of life of patients.
Cataracts, according to the World Health Organization, are the leading cause of reversible blindness.
A cataract is an opacification of the natural lens of the eye. Globally, this is the most common cause of blindness. The development of cataracts in adults is caused by aging, exposure to sunlight, smoking, malnutrition, eye injuries, systemic diseases, and medications such as steroids. More than half of people over the age of 65 have cataracts. Cataract patients usually complain of blurred, blurred images.
A cataract is a thin opaque film that appears in the lens, which blocks the passage of the light beam to the retina (the nerve component of the eyeball at which the image is formed), causing vision problems. Cataract symptoms
In most cases the condition is caused by certain visual disturbances:
- Blurred, blurred vision.
- Colors appear dull or faded.
- Glasses are no longer help.
- The need for relatively frequent change of glasses or contact lenses.
- Photophobia: natural light or other types of lighting seem too bright or blinding, disturbing sensation of light.
- Decreased visual acuity at night
- Halls around light sources
- Diplopia (double view or multiple images of a single object).
- Paradoxical improvement in near vision, but which disappears as the cataract progresses.
Types of cataracts
Cataracts can be congenital, traumatic, metabolic, or acquired (given age). Cataracts can be the reason why colors become blurred, objects are no longer clearly perceived or glasses are no longer effective. Due to the progressive decrease of vision or blurred vision, the patient is dissatisfied with his vision and tries in vain to change glasses.
At what age does a cataract appear?
Studies show that over 70% of people over the age of 65 will develop cataracts sooner or later. The moment of the disease can be marked by the sign known as “short-term joy”, more precisely the moment when the patient notices an improvement in vision and gives up wearing glasses. Of course, in a short time, the affected person notices the decrease in vision and tries, in vain, to change the glasses. This is the time when the patient must consult an ophthalmologist.
Causes of cataracts
Cataracts occur due to the opacification of the lens (the lens of the eyeball).
Certain factors predispose to the onset of the disease, namely:
- old age, aging (senile cataract)
- excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, namely, natural light, artificial exposure (salons for artificial tanning)
- toxic environments
- diabetes mellitus, especially decompensated diabetes (high blood sugar)
- other ophthalmic diseases: glaucoma (increased intraocular pressure), chronic uveitis, retinitis pigmentosa (degenerative disease of cells with rods and cones in the retina) or retinal detachment
- chronic treatment with corticosteroids (strong anti-inflammatory drugs)
The steps for treating cataracts are:
- ophthalmological consultation
- ophthalmic investigations
Cataracts are easily diagnosed by presenting to a routine ophthalmological consultation, by examining by the ophthalmologist the anterior ocular pole with the biomicroscope.
Once cataracts are diagnosed, other tests can be used to estimate the degree of disease progression: visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, night vision, color vision, etc.
Other ophthalmological examinations should also be performed to detect possible diseases (glaucoma, macular degeneration, etc.).
The only treatment for cataracts is to remove the opaque natural lens and replace it with an artificial lens. Cataracts are operated on when the evolutionary stage interferes and prevents the patient’s normal daily activity, obstructing it.
As with any surgery, there are risks. Incidents can occur intraoperatively: hemorrhages, corneal damage, rupture of the posterior capsule, etc. Postoperative: opacification of the posterior capsules that can be treated with laser, transient ocular hypertension, inflammation, infections, endophthalmitis.
After laser treatment, the chances of recurrence are extremely low.
Complications, although extremely rare, include:
- lens decentralization, or loss in the future;
- retinal detachment
Precautions after intervention
- It is very important that the patient maintains very strict local hygiene.
- The patient must be very careful the first 72 hours postoperatively;
- The patient should not rub the operated eye or apply pressure to the eyeball;
- Do not sleep on the operated eye;
- It is normal for the eye to be more sensitive for a postoperative period;
- The patient must wear goggles for a period after surgery;
- Postoperatively, the patient can walk, read, or watch TV;
- The new glasses will be prescribed to the patient after 3-4 weeks, postoperatively;
- The patient cannot drive a vehicle until he obtains permission from the ophthalmologist;
- The patient must use all medication prescribed by the ophthalmologist and not omit any control indicated by him.