Although cataracts do not cause irritation or pain, it is the most common cause of blindness in the world. Fortunately, it is treatable with safe, effective surgery.
A cataract is a condition in which the lens of your eye turns cloudy, preventing sufficient light from entering your eye, therefore reducing vision. Eventually, this deterioration in vision will interfere with your daily activities, such as reading or driving a car (particularly at night).
Most cataracts develop slowly and you may not notice it in the earlier stages of the condition. However, your vision will be aff ected as the clouding progresses.
Cataracts are not dangerous
to eye health unless they
become completely white. This
condition, called an overripe or
hypermature cataract, can cause
raised eye pressure and present
suddenly with redness and pain
in the eye, as well as headaches.
If a cataract causes infl ammation
and raised eye pressure, it will
need to be removed.
Cataract formation is associated with ageing and is common in the elderly. In young people, it can be congenital, associated with inflammatory eye disease or due to injuries.
Other risk factors include prolonged UV light exposure, long-term use of certain medications and medical conditions such as diabetes.
The first sign that you may have a cataract is if you have blurred vision that cannot be corrected with the usual corrective visual aids such as glasses. You will experience the need for frequent change of glasses, colours appearing dull, poor vision in bright light, halos around lights, difficulty in reading, watching television or driving at night.
Signs and symptoms of cataracts include :
Everyone is at risk because age is
the greatest risk factor. Your risk of
developing cataracts increases with :
There is no scientifically proven
prevention. However, these tips will
help prevent cataracts :
Cataracts cannot be cured with
Lifestyle adjustments such as
changing your spectacle power,
using a magnifying glass to read or improving the lighting in your home
can be adopted in the earlier stages of
Cataract surgery is required when the
condition starts to interfere with your
daily activities. It is a painless, safe and
eff ective surgery. During the procedure,
the clouded lens is removed and
replaced with a clear lens implant.
The cataracts are rarely removed
without the need to implant new
lenses. In these cases, vision can be
corrected with aids such as glasses or
Cataract surgery is performed as a day
surgery without general anaesthesia
but with topical anaesthesia.
Most cataract surgeries are
performed using a technique
called phacoemulsifi cation
which does away with the need
for stitches. The procedure
involves making a small incision
of 1.8 to 3mm on the cornea.
A vibrating instrument is then
introduced into the eye through
this incision. This process causes
emulsifi cation (i.e. softening) of
the clouded lens, which is sucked
out through the instrument. The
capsule of the lens is left behind
to receive the lens implant.
There are various types of intra-ocular
lenses (IOL) available. Discuss with your
doctor about the most suitable type of
lenses for you.
2. Advanced Monofocal
Monofocal lenses in both eyes
The full distance correction in both eyes
will benefi t those with an active sports/
Monovision using monofocal lenses
The IOL power is chosen to provide :
This will allow most patients to be
spectacle-independent for most
activities. They may still need reading
glasses when reading for prolonged
periods of time. Not all patients are
able to tolerate monovision lenses and
depth of vision may be reduced.
Suitable for those who :
For best results, these lenses should be
used in both eyes.
Multifocal lenses offer :
After surgery, some people may notice :
These symptoms are temporary in most
cases and are less likely if both eyes have
Multifocal Toric IOLs
These are also available today. These
IOLs provide for near/intermediate and
distance vision just as other multifocal
IOLs with their attendant side eff ects,
but in addition incorporate the
For best results, this lens should be used
in both eyes.
Accommodative lenses offer :
After surgery, some people may:
Your choice of lenses depends on your
lifestyle. Keep in mind that they should
improve and enhance your overall vision.
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