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Cataracts Clarified

Posted on March 28, 2022 | No Comments on Cataracts Clarified

Are you over 60 years of age? Is your vision blurred – your view of the world slowly and steadily getting hazier? Have you been watching less of your favorite TV shows – the images having long ago disintegrated into a vista of colorful blur? Well, then it might be time to learn more about cataracts.

What is a cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye. The lens is the part of the eye which helps focus light/images into the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, the retina. When the images reach the retina, nerve signals are then sent to the brain. In a normal eye, a sharp image is then “seen”. In an eye with a cataract, the images are perceived as blurred.

How do cataracts develop?
When the proteins which compose the lens progressively clump together, an enlarging opacity which later involves the whole lens develops. As the opacity enlarges, vision is slowly diminished. As the cataract becomes denser, vision may become tinted. Unnoticed at first, tinting worsens to affect color perception and image sharpness. The fuzzy black pants you think you are wearing may actually be fuzzy blue. Driving at night can become difficult due to glare from oncoming car headlights as with poor night vision.

Do you spend long hours under the tropical sun? Consume alcohol perhaps? Do you smoke? If so, stop or considerably
lessen your exposure/consumption. All these have been shown to increase a person’s chances of developing cataracts. Certain conditions, too, like diabetes and blunt injury to the eye can bring about cataracts.

How are cataracts treated?
Will eyedrops “melt” the cataract? Can laser remove cataracts? No, at the moment, surgery is the only way to remove cataracts. There are two types of surgery. Phacoemulsification involves the application of ultrasound waves to fragment the, cataract through a probe inserted via a small incision in the eye. The resulting pieces are then suctioned by the same probe. Extracapsular surgery involves a larger surgical incision wherein the bulk of the cataract is removed in one piece and the remnants suctioned. The type of surgery to be done is best explained in detail by an eye doctor. With either type of surgery, an intraocular lens (IOL) is usually inserted to replace the lens that was removed. When and where an IOL placement is not possible, vision is restored with the use of contact lenses or glasses.

When are cataracts best removed?
Surgery is indicated when your daily activities (such as watching TV, reading and driving) are hampered by your vision. Cataracts may be removed though, even before this occurs. The presence of other eye conditions such as glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy where the condition of the back of the eye must be monitored carefully may necessitate earlier cataract removal.

Can cataracts be prevented?
Studies show that proper nutrition – lots of green leafy vegetables (the lowly “kangkong” fits the bill perfectly) as well as yellow ones like squash and carrots – help keep cataracts at bay. Large brimmed hats and sunglasses protect the eye from harmful UV radiation.

So I think I’ve got cataracts, what do i do now?
A visit to the eye doctor is in order He/she will be able to examine your eye LI and best explain to you your condition and treatment options.

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