“EYES ARE OUR WINDOWS TO THE WORLD”
If you live long enough, you’ll probably get cataracts, which are an inevitable consequence of getting older. It’s similar to greying of hair …’
As frightening as cataracts might sound, modern cataract surgery usually can restore vision lost to cataracts — and often can reduce your dependence on eyeglasses as well.
CATARACT - Demystified:
Cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens.
The human eye can be compared to a camera which gathers, focuses, and transmits light through a lens to create an image on the retina, a thin layer of light sensitive cells at the back of the eye. The lens of the eye bends, or refracts, light that enters the eye.
The lens must be clear in order to focus light properly onto the retina. If the lens has become cloudy, this is called a cataract.
Visual problems with cataracts
If your vision has become blurry, cloudy or dim, or things you see are not as bright or colorful as they used to be, a cataract may have developed in one or both of your eyes.
Many people say that their vision with cataracts is similar to the effect of looking through a dirty car windshield.
As a cataract slowly begins to develop, you may not notice any changes in your vision at first. But as the cataract progresses, you may begin to find that it interferes with your daily activities.
Performing a complete eye exam, your eye surgeon can tell, whether cataract or another problem is the cause of your vision loss.
While cataracts are one of the most common causes of vision loss, especially as we age, they are treatable with cataract surgery.
Since most cataracts are part of the normal aging process, they cannot be reversed.
There are no medications or eye drops that will make cataracts go away—surgery is the only treatment.
• Painless cloudy, blurry or dim vision
• More difficulty seeing at night or in low light
• Sensitivity to light and glare
• Seeing halos around lights
• Faded or yellowed colors
• The need for brighter light for reading and other activities
• Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
• Double vision within one eye
The only way to know for certain if you have cataracts is to have a dilated eye exam (where your pupil is widened with eye drops). Your ophthalmologist can detect early signs of cataract development by looking at your eye's lens. Get a baseline exam at age 40 when early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to occur. At the end of your examination, the doctor would indicate how often you should return for follow-up exams.
At any point, if you have symptoms or risks for eye disease, see your doctor. Because your risk for cataracts and other eye diseases increases as you get older, starting at age 65 you should schedule an eye checkup. every year. A complete eye examination will rule out any other condition that may be causing blurred vision or eye problems.
Early detection and treatment of cataracts is critical to preserving sight.
These factors increase your risk of developing cataracts:
• Advanced age;
• Extensive exposure to sunlight , (UV rays)
• High blood pressure;
• Previous trauma or eye injury
• Previous episode of recurrent inflammation (swelling) in the eye;
• Previous eye surgery;(Retinal surgery)
• Long-term use of steroid medication (either topical or especially combined use of oral and inhaled steroids in case of bronchial asthma or any skin allergies).
If you have any of these risk factors for cataract, you should schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist.
So that’s the scoop on cataract myths and facts. Armed with a little knowledge and the assurance that cataracts are easily corrected, you will be all set to take on the world – and see clearly again.
WHEN to undergo the knife …? The deciding time:
Preserve your sight for the best years of your life
A cataract may not need to be removed right away if your lifestyle isn't significantly affected.
In some cases, simply changing your eyeglass prescription may help to improve your vision. Contrary to popular belief, a cataract does not have to be "ripe" to be removed.
However, once you are diagnosed with a cataract, your ophthalmologist needs to monitor your vision regularly for any changes.
What is Cataract surgery?
Cataract extraction is the most commonly performed surgical procedure world-wide. Evolving considerably in the last 50 years with micro incision phacoemulsification surgery (MICS) the cataract removal by a surgeon has become more predictable and safer than ever before with rapid recovery When a cataract causes bothersome vision problems that interfere with your daily activities, your ophthalmologist may recommend surgery to remove the cataract.
Your eye doctor would ask you to get some blood work up and ECG and other pre-operative investigations done following which you would need to schedule an appointment for your optical biometry , which is when you would be able to discuss different intra ocular lens options which would suit best for your working needs. You can discuss with your doctor, about the cataract surgery procedure, preparation for and recovery after surgery, benefits and possible complications of cataract surgery, cataract surgery costs and other important information. Together, you can decide which cataract surgical package is appropriate for you.
Micro Incision Cataract Surgery - MICS Advantages
Over the years the size of corneal incision made during cataract surgery has considerably reduced leading to improved visual outcome & quicker post procedure recovery for the patient.
~ Requires a very small incision of about 2.2mm or lesser
~ Cataract is emulsified into small pieces by phacoemulsification and a foldable IOL is implanted
~ Walk-in, Walk-out procedure
~ Stitch-less, bloodless, painless surgery
~ Quick healing and post-operative recovery
MYTH 1: Eye drops can prevent or dissolve cataracts.
The Food and Drug Administration has not approved any drops that cure or delay cataracts. Some such products claim they can prevent cataracts, but cataract formation is a natural part of the eye's aging process. Other products claim they can "dissolve" cataracts. But since cataracts are not a "substance," there is nothing for the drops to dissolve.
MYTH 2: Close-up tasks like reading or sewing make cataracts worse.
Cataracts are not caused by how people use their eyes. However, cataracts likely become more noticeable during close work. One sign of a cataract is the need for more light to do the same activities well.
Cataracts are reversible.
The lens naturally clouds as it ages. This process is unavoidable. However, its progress can be slowed by quitting smoking, eating a balanced diet and wearing sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB protection. ·
Cataract surgery is dangerous, and recovery takes months.
Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most highly perfected surgical procedures in medicine, with a 95 per cent success rate. Of course, as with any surgery, risks do exist and should be discussed with a doctor before the procedure. Patients will need to avoid bending or lifting anything heavy for up to three weeks after the procedure, as well as refrain from rubbing or pressing the eye. Normal activities may be resumed the day after surgery, when the eye patch is removed. Cataract patients often notice vision improvement immediately following surgery, and others will notice more gradual improvement for a few months afterward.
Cataracts "grow back."
Cataracts develop as the lens's cells die and accumulate; they are not a "growth" that sits on top of the eye. Occasionally patients do develop a different, secondary cataract, though. When the membrane that holds the new lens implant becomes cloudy, vision can be compromised. But this can easily be treated with laser surgery, a painless, 15-minute procedure usually done at a doctor's office.
MYTH 6: A cataract must be “ripe” before it can be removed.
FACT: In the past this was true – a cataract had to be in the advanced stage before it could be removed. However with modern cataract surgery, a cataract does not have to “ripen” to be removed. You can have a cataract removed as soon as it begins to affect your vision and quality of life.
MYTH 7: Cataract is contagious. Cataracts can spread from one eye to the other.
FACT : NO
Cataract is the natural ageing process, so there is no question of it spreading. Cataracts can develop in one eye or both of them, but they do not spread.
MYTH 8: Only older people develop cataracts.
FACT: Cataracts are most common among people over 65 years of age; however, cataracts can occur in people who are younger. These cataracts result from conditions such as diabetes, certain medications and other eye problems. In some cases cataracts can be present at birth; these are called congenital cataracts. For more information on the different types of cataracts
MYTH 9: There are ways to reverse cataracts once they occur.
FACT: The clouding of the lens is a natural part of the aging process and can not be avoided. However, you can make lifestyle adjustments to slow or prevent the development of cataracts:
If you smoke, consider quitting.
Eat a balanced diet, including a lot of fruits and vegetables.
Wear sunglasses (with 100% UV A and B protection) and avoid excessive sun exposure.