Definition Of Cataract:
A cataract is a clouding that forms in the lens of the eye. It can cause mild to severe opacity and obstruct light from passing through the lens, making it more difficult to read or drive. Cataracts usually show up in both eyes, but most often form in one eye before the other. They usually develop slowly and might not be very noticeable at first. However, they eventually require treatment to prevent vision loss or blindness.
Causes Of Cataract:
Cataracts form for a variety of reasons, including exposure to radiation or ultraviolet light. Aging or injury can damage lens tissue that can cause them to form. Genetic factors and a family history of cataracts may not directly cause them but can predispose someone to having one. Other causes include iodine deficiency and allergies.
Symptoms Of Cataract:
Initially, there may be few or no symptoms of a cataract. This can occur while the cataract affects only a small area of the lens of the eye. At some point the cataract begins to grow. This could take weeks or months. As it continues growing, a larger area of the eye is affected. The lens becomes clouded, which distorts the light as it passes through.
At this point other symptoms will appear. Vision may become dim or blurry. There will be an obvious sensitivity to light and glare. Halos around lights may be visible, making driving at night difficult. Cataracts cause a loss of contrast sensitivity, causing colors to fade or yellow and contours to be less vivid. Other symptoms are a frequent need to change eyeglass prescriptions, absence of a red reflex and double vision in one eye.
Diagnosis For Cataract:
Cataract symptoms are similar to ocular citrosis symptoms, so a doctor will perform several tests to ensure an accurate diagnosis. An eye chart test will be used to check the level of visual acuity. An examination with a slit lamp allows a doctor to check the structures at the front of the eye for abnormalities. The doctor will also dilate the eye and check the retina for cataracts.
Treatment For Cataract:
Once a cataract is diagnosed, cataract eye surgery is the only effective treatment for it. The doctor will take a number of factors into consideration when discussing surgery. Because they are not initially harmful and can take a long time to develop, a doctor may not recommend a cataract be removed until it has an impact on performing regular activities. The operation can normally be performed at any time with no additional risks.
If surgery is chosen, the surgeon will decide which method to use for removing the cataract. Both involve making an incision into the capsule of the lens to remove it. Extra capsular cataract extraction is done by removing the affected lens but leaving most of the capsule intact. Intra-capsular surgery removes the entire lens including the capsule. The removed lens is then replaced with a plastic lens implant, which permanently takes the place the other lens occupied. If the patient has other eye problems that prohibit a replacement lens, the cataract is removed and the vision problems are treated with glasses or contacts. The surgery is performed on an outpatient basis with local anesthesia. If a cataract needs to be removed from both eyes, the surgery is performed on one eye at a time several weeks apart.
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