Cataract - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

A cataract is an eye condition in which blurriness or cloudiness over the eye lens occurs due to the accumulation of protein. With a cataract, it becomes difficult to read, drive a car or even see someone’s face. Mostly, it develops slowly, but it may progress over time and affect your vision. If you have any difficulty seeing, you must go to the healthcare provider as soon as possible. 


First, glasses and strong lightning can help you in focusing. But later on, you may need to get surgery done. 


Symptoms 


The signs and symptoms of cataract are;


  • Clouded vision 

  • Blurred vision or dim vision

  • Seeing "halos" around lights

  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription

  • Need for brighter light for reading and other activities

  • Fading or yellowing of colors

  • Double vision in a single eye

  • Increasing difficulty with vision especially at night

  • Sensitivity to light and glare



Causes


The causes of cataract are;


  • Production of oxygen species that are chemically altered due to normal daily life

  • Smoking

  • Ultraviolet radiation

  • Long-term use of corticosteroids and other medications

  • Radiation therapy

  • Disease like diabetes

  • Trauma 


Types of cataracts


Nuclear cataract


This type of cataract involves the center of the lens. At first, it may cause nearsightedness. However, by the time it may change the color of the lens, turning it into brown- that makes it difficult for you to differentiate colors. 



Cortical cataract


The type of cataract that affects the edges of the lens is called the cortical cataract. It starts from the sides of the cortical lens and progresses to the center. 



Posterior subcapsular cataracts


It is the type of cataract that affects the back of the lens and forms an opaque area at the back of the lens. This type of cataract often reduces vision, makes it difficult to read, causes halos and glare at night, and reduces vision in bright light. 


Congenital cataracts


When a baby is born with a cataract- it is called a congenital cataract. It can occur due to intrauterine infection or trauma. However, it can also occur due to health conditions like;


  • Myotonic dystrophy

  • Galactosemia

  • Neurofibromatosis 

  • Type 2 or rubella



Risk factors


The risk factors for cataract are;


  • Advancing age

  • Diseases that can damage your eye like diabetes- due to uncontrolled high blood sugar

  • Excessive sunlight exposure

  • Smoking cigarettes

  • Being obese 

  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure

  • Having any previous eye injury or inflammation

  • Previous eye surgery

  • Taking corticosteroid medications for long term

  • Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol



Prevention 


You can do following tips to prevent cataract;


  • Monitor your blood pressure and blood sugar levels regularly, especially if you are above the age of 50. Make sure you take medications on time if you have diabetes or hypertension. 

  • Quit smoking 

  • Eat a balanced diet that contains all the nutrients adequately. Moreover, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. 

  • Wear sunglasses outdoors in the daytime to protect your eyes from ultraviolet sun rays. 

  • Reduce alcohol consumption 



Treatment 


Generally, surgery is the treatment option for cataracts. The healthcare providers perform a procedure called phacoemulsification, in which they break down your lens into tiny pieces, remove them and insert an intraocular lens implant. Another treatment option for cataract is extracapsular cataract extraction- a procedure in which the doctor removes the lens, leaving behind the elastic capsule and inserting an intraocular lens. 


Surgery is done concerning your other health conditions because you have to undergo general anesthesia. If surgery is not an option for you, the healthcare provider may manage your eye cataract with sunglasses having an anti glare layer over it or with a magnifying glass. 


Conclusion 


A cataract is an eye condition in which blurriness or cloudiness over the eye lens occurs due to the accumulation of protein. There are various types of cataracts and the most common treatment for it is surgery. Mostly it develops slowly but it may progress over time and affect your vision. If you have any difficulty in seeing, you must go to the healthcare provider as soon as possible. 


Doctors For Cataract

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