The cataract service offers specialised care for the diagnosis and management of cataract. It provides services including evaluation of cataract, work-up of cataract and cataract surgery using advanced phacoemulsification procedures with a gamut of intraocular lens options to choose from.
What is cataract? What does having a cataract mean?
A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye. For people who have cataracts, seeing through cloudy lenses is a bit like looking through a frosty or fogged-up window. Clouded vision caused by cataracts can make it more difficult to read, drive a car (especially at night) or see the expression on a friend's face. Most cataracts develop slowly and don't disturb your eyesight early on. Eventually, with time, cataracts will interfere with your vision. At first, stronger lighting and eyeglasses can help you deal with cataracts. But if impaired vision interferes with your usual activities, you might need cataract surgery. Fortunately, cataract surgery is generally a safe, effective procedure.
What are the types of cataract?
There are mainly 3 types of cataracts
- Mature senile/Immature senile cataracts
- Complicated / Traumatic cataracts
- Congenital cataracts
Mature senile/Immature senile cataracts: These cataracts occur due to the normal aging process which affects the lens which results in opacification. They generally occur in people after 40 years of age.
Complicated cataracts: These cataracts can occur at any age due to some other medical condition in the body like diabetes, kidney disease etc. They can also occur as a side effect of some medications being administered for some other medical condition. The most common being due to prolonged intake of corticosteroids in the form of eye-drops or oral medication
Congenital cataracts: Some children may have signs of cataract when they are born. If these cataracts are progressive then they have to be treated. There are some cataracts which occur at birth and remain the same or change very slowly. These cataracts do not need to be removed surgically if they are not hindering the vision.
What are the symptoms of cataract?
The signs and symptoms of cataracts include:
- Clouded, blurred or foggy vision
- Glare, especially at night
- Increased sensitivity to light.
- Seeing "halos" around lights.
- Frequent changes in corrective glasses or contact lens prescription.
- Fading or yellowing of colors.
- Double vision in one eye.
At first, the cloudiness in vision caused by a cataract may affect only a small part of the eye's lens and the patient may be unaware of any vision loss. As the cataract grows larger, it clouds more of the lens and distorts the light passing through the lens. At this point, there may be signs and symptoms which are more likely to get noticed.
What are the causes of cataract?
Most cataracts develop when aging or injury changes the tissue inside your eye's lens. Some cataracts are related to genetic disorders that cause other health problems and increase your risk of cataracts. Cataracts can also be caused by other eye conditions, medical conditions such as diabetes, trauma or past eye surgery. Long-term use of steroid medications, too, can cause cataracts to develop.
How does cataract form?
The lens, where cataracts form, is positioned behind the colored part of your eye (iris). The lens focuses light that passes into your eye, producing clear, sharp images on the retina — the light-sensitive membrane on the back inside wall of your eyeball that functions like the film of a camera.
A cataract scatters the light as it passes through the lens, preventing a sharply defined image from reaching your retina. As a result, your vision becomes blurred.
As you age, the lenses in your eyes become less flexible, less transparent and thicker. Age-related changes cause tissues within the lens to break down and clump together, clouding small areas within the lens. As the cataract continues to develop, the clouding becomes denser and involves a greater part of the lens.
Cataracts may develop in only one eye, but they usually develop in both of your eyes. However, the cataracts usually aren't totally symmetrical, and the cataract in one eye may be more advanced than the other.
What are the risk Factors of cataract?
Factors that increase your risk of cataracts include:
- Increasing age
- Excessive exposure to sunlight
- Exposure to ionizing radiation, such as that used in X-rays and cancer radiation therapy
- Family history of cataracts
- Previous eye injury or inflammation
- Previous eye surgery
- Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications
How is cataract diagnosed?
To determine whether you have a cataract, your doctor will review your medical history and symptoms, and perform an eye examination. Your doctor may conduct several tests, including:
Asking you to read an eye chart (visual acuity test):
A visual acuity test uses an eye chart to measure how well you can read a series of letters. Your eyes are tested one at a time, while the other eye is covered. Using a chart or a viewing device with progressively smaller letters, your eye doctor determines if you have 20/20 vision or if your vision shows signs of impairment.
Using a light and magnification to examine your eye (slit-lamp examination):
A slit lamp allows your eye doctor to see the structures at the front of your eye under magnification. The microscope is called a slit lamp because it uses an intense line of light, a slit, to illuminate your cornea, iris, lens, and the space between your iris and cornea. The slit allows your doctor to view these structures in optical slices, which makes it easier to detect any tiny abnormalities.
Dilating your eyes (retinal examination):
To prepare for a retinal examination, your eye doctor puts dilating drops in your eyes to open your pupils wide. This makes it easier to examine the back of your eyes (retina). Using a slit lamp, your eye doctor can examine your lens for signs of a cataract.
What is the treatment of cataract?
The only effective treatment for cataracts is surgery.
When to consider cataract surgery?
Talk with your ophthalmologist about whether surgery is right for you. Most of the ophthalmologist suggest considering cataract surgery when your cataracts begin to affect your quality of life or interfere with your ability to perform normal daily activities, such as reading or driving at night. It's up to you and your doctor to decide when cataract surgery is right for you. For most people, there is no rush to remove cataracts because they usually don't harm the eye.
Delaying the procedure won't make it more likely that you won't recover your vision if you later decide to have cataract surgery. Take time to consider the benefits and risks of cataract surgery with your doctor.
If you choose not to undergo cataract surgery immediately, your eye doctor may change your glasses and recommend periodic follow-up exams to see if your cataracts are progressing. How often you'll see your eye doctor depends on your situation.
What happens during cataract surgery?
Once you decide to have your cataracts removed, you will have to undergo further testing to personalize the lens to your eye. The artificial intraocular lens you are given will be partially decided by your existing number, the length of your eye and the shape of your cornea. Tests will be done to determine these variables.
When you have had these tests, and decide on a date for the surgery, you will be given a set of preoperative instructions. These instructions will inform you on how to go about the surgery and what medications you will be required to take before you come to the operation theatre.
The surgery requires no major preparation in the form of diet restrictions.
You will be asked to come to the operation theatre about one hour before the operation so that you can settle down before you actually go in for the operation. The surgery itself will take approximately 15 minutes but there will be a preparation time of another 30 minutes or so.
During the surgery, you will be asked to lie down and will be given instructions on how to cooperate with the surgeon.
How can I prevent cataract?
No studies have proved how to prevent cataracts or slow the progression of cataracts. However, doctors think several strategies may be helpful, including:
- Have regular eye examinations:
Eye examinations can help detect cataracts and other eye problems at their earliest stages. Ask your doctor how often you should have an eye examination.
- Wear sunglasses: Ultraviolet light from the sun may contribute to the development of cataracts. Wear sunglasses that block ultraviolet B (UVB) rays when you're outdoors.
- Manage other health problems: Follow your treatment plan if you have diabetes or other medical conditions that can increase your risk of cataracts.
- Maintain a healthy diet: If you currently have a healthy weight, work to maintain it by exercising most days of the week. If you're overweight or obese, work to lose weight slowly by reducing your calorie intake and increasing the amount of exercise you get each day. Excess usage of nutritional supplements can also cause cataracts so do not self-medicate.
- Choose a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables: Adding a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to your diet ensures that you're getting many vitamins and nutrients. Fruits and vegetables have many antioxidants, which help maintain the health of your eyes.
Why choose Noble Eye Care Gurgaon for cataract surgery?
- Highly experienced Surgeons trained from AIIMS, New Delhi
- Latest equipment for advanced ophthalmology investigations for enhanced accuracy and safety
- Wide variety of surgical and intraocular lens options
- Patient friendly environment
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