One of the leading causes of vision impairments in elderly people is a cataract. This painless, progressive clouding of the internal, natural lens of the eye blocks the light and makes seeing clearly difficult. A cataract is often related to older people, but sometimes, younger people are prone to develop this condition as well.
If left untreated, cataracts may lead to blindness over an extended period of time, thus necessitating early identification and appropriate treatment.
The Importance of Detecting and Treating Cataracts
Although cataracts are easy to identify and treat, the huge number of people affected by this eye condition makes it crucial to have a reliable system to detect this condition in the initial stage itself so that it can be checked regularly and the necessary treatment procedure can be followed to prevent vision loss.
According to studies, and from the statistics of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, over 24 million Americans above the age of 40 are affected by cataracts. A stunning half of all Americans above the age of 75 are found to have cataracts. This makes it all the more important to have a proper eye examination, make an accurate diagnosis, and plan the most optimal course of treatment to manage cataracts.
Cataracts – the Fundamentals
With ageing, the clear natural lenses in the human eyes begin to get hard, cloudy, and yellow. This opaque area of the eye over the lens is a cataract that blocks light rays from passing through the lens, thus making it difficult for you to see. While people may develop a cataract in one eye or both, there can only be one cataract per eye. Cataracts cannot spread among the eyes.
Cataracts are among the several eye conditions that might cause foggy or blurry vision, sensitivity to colour, trouble with night vision, and dimming of colours of lights. The disease of cataract occurs when the damaged proteins in one’s eye lens start clumping together, thus creating problems with the way light normally refracts onto the eye’s retina. This ultimately distorts the picture that one’s brain is processing. As we grow old, it is essential to look for Cataract Symptoms.
Cataracts are easy to diagnose as well as treat in the modern eye care environment. Surgery is recommended after one’s vision gets significantly obscured. This will occur only after years of the initial cataract diagnosis. Cataract Operation helps to restore the vision completely.
Early detection of cataract: what are the signs and symptoms?
For an early identification that facilitates the timely treatment of cataracts, people must have a fairly good idea about the common Cataract Symptoms. The following are a few of the most common Cataract Symptoms:
#1. Cloudy/blurry vision
A hazy or blurry vision is one of the most common symptoms of cataracts. You tend to develop a filmy, foggy, or cloudy vision. Over time, the cataract worsens, causing less light to reach the retina. Noticeable fuzzy spots appear in the field of vision of the person who suffers from cataracts. These are fairly small in the beginning but worsen with time.
#2. Seeing at night becomes difficult
Those suffering from cataracts will especially have a harder time seeing at night. The sufferer’s vision becomes dim or darker, and sometimes slight tinges of yellow or brown may be caused. Such early changes may not be noticed during day time when sufficient light helps to compensate for the dimming or darkening vision, but they are more noticeable during night.
#3. Increased sensitivity to light
People who are suffering from cataract issues will experience increased discomfort with bright lights. Bright light makes them squint or even close their eyes. They tend to develop sudden headaches when faced with flashes of bright light. Driving at night becomes difficult as the brightness of headlights causes trouble to the eyes.
#4. Halos or glares around lights
For people with cataracts, the lens of the eye becomes hard and gets cloudy over a period of time. They may eventually notice glare and halos appearing in their field of vision. The light that passes through cataracts gets diffracted, thus leading to the formation of ringlets and glare around any source of bright light.
#5. Double vision
Those suffering from cataracts are prone to get double vision (also called diplopia) when looking with one eye. This double vision is different from that resulting from improper lining up of the eyes or other conditions. In the case of cataracts, even with one eye open, images might appear double.
#6. Yellowing of colours or colour changes
Cataract affects your colour vision. It makes certain hues to look faded. Your vision, when affected by cataracts, might gradually experience yellowish or brownish tinge. Initially mild, this discolouration will increase, and over time, it will become difficult to distinguish between blue and purple. This is caused by the protein clumps that cloud the eye lenses to turn brown or yellow.
#7. Frequent change of glasses
One of the signs of cataracts is the need to frequently change your eyeglasses or contact lenses. As cataracts are usually progressive, they tend to get worse with time. This necessitates a frequent change of glasses.
Common causes of cataracts
While the exact cause of cataract is not known its risk grows as one gets older. The following factors may contribute to cataract as well:
- Alcohol abuse
- Eye injury
- Excessive use of corticosteroids
- Excessive exposure to radiation or sunlight
Diagnosis of Cataract
Almost all types of cataracts can be diagnosed with a proper eye examination. The vision test and eye study conducted by the eye doctor will detect the problems with the eye lens and other parts of your eyes.
Treatment of cataract
Cataracts will ultimately dim or cloud the lens of the eye to such an extent that performing daily tasks becomes difficult. It is the right time for surgery, which happens to be the final treatment method for cataracts. During surgery, the eye’s natural lens is removed and replaced, restoring clear and sharp vision.
Cataract Laser Surgery is the latest in the surgical options to treat cataracts. Depending on the factors such as the procedure, surgeon, type of lens, and the location, Cataract Surgery Cost ranges between Rs.10,000/- and Rs.100,000/- per eye in India.
A cataract is an eye condition that occurs frequently with elderly people. It is a condition that is easy to identify and treat. By following certain tips such as not smoking, keeping blood sugar at the right levels, limiting alcohol consumption, and protecting the eyes with proper eyewear. Cataract Operation is a simple and secure way to treat cataracts.