Eye, Cataract and Treatment

The number one cause of treatable blindness worldwide is cataract; it affects over 18 million people, or 48% of all blind adults.

A cataract is a painless clouding of the lens of the eye. Generally, cataracts develop as a result of aging, trauma, diabetes or heredity over a long time, causing eyesight to get worse and even blind. However, not all people who have cataract can have access to eye health services, such as cataract treatment.

Eye and cataract

Your eye is ball-shaped and contains fluid.

The lens which is near the front of your eye and behind the iris – the coloured part of your eye helps you to see things in focus. Through the lens, light rays go to the back of your eyeball (retina) and form an image which is then sent to your brain.

The lens can change its shape shape to allow you to see things near and far away. Normally it is clear but when it becomes cloudy, it’s called a cataract.

Treatment

Early cataracts may be managed with the following measures:

•   Stronger eyeglasses or contact lenses

•   Use of a magnifying glass during reading

•   Strong lighting

• Have a diet high on antioxidants, such as beta-carotene (vitamin A), selenium and vitamin C and E. Avoid eating a lot of salt.

•   Medication that dilates the pupil. (This may help some people with capsular cataracts, although glare can be a problem with this treatment.)

Although surgery is the only remedy for cataracts but it is almost never an emergency. The clouded lens is removed and replaced by a  clear, plastic intraocular lens (IOL) so that the patient can see at all distances or block both ultraviolet and blue light rays.

In general, surgery is indicated for people with cataracts under the following circumstances:

•   The Snellen eye test reports 20/40 or worse, with a cataract being responsible for vision loss that cannot be corrected by glasses.

•   Performing everyday activities has become difficult to perform to the point that independence is threatened, or the patient is at risk for accident or injury.

In general, even if cataracts are diagnosed, the decision to remove them should be based on the patient’s own perception of vision difficulties and needs and the effect of vision loss on normal activity. Surgery is indicated for people with cataracts under the following circumstances:

•   The Snellen eye test reports 20/40 or worse, with a cataract being responsible for vision loss that cannot be corrected by glasses.

•   Performing everyday activities has become difficult to perform to the point that independence is threatened, or the patient is at risk for accident or injury.

However, the patient should also be aware of costs of surgery and all the risks such as complications during surgery and poor outcomes afterward.


Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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