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Cataracts: Exploring Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Jan 24, 2024

Cataract treatment

Cataracts: Exploring Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options Cataracts: Exploring Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

A cataract occurs when the proteins in the lens of your eye break down, forming dense, cloudy patches that impact your vision. Your lens is a flexible, transparent structure of proteins (crystallins). Nevertheless, these proteins form clumps as you age, preventing the lens from transmitting clear images to the retina.

Cataracts develop slowly and can affect both eyes, but not simultaneously. Cataracts are commonly found in older individuals, with more than half of the population in the United States experiencing cataracts or having undergone cataract surgery by the age of 80, as reported by the National Eye Institute.

Let us discuss cataracts, their types, causes, symptoms, and treatment to keep you informed about the condition so you can act quickly.

Types of Cataracts 

There are three types of cataracts. They are -

  • Pediatric Cataracts: They affect infants and children and can be congenital or acquired. While it is often hereditary, it can also result from eye injuries or other eye conditions. Seeking prompt treatment for pediatric cataracts is necessary to prevent complications such as amblyopia (lazy eye).
  • Traumatic Cataracts: They occur due to eye injuries and require more comprehensive treatment as the surrounding structures of the lens may also be affected.
  • Secondary Cataracts: Also known as posterior capsular opacification, these cloudy patches form on your lens capsule or the membrane covering your lens after cataract surgery. This condition is common yet easily treatable.

Causes of Cataracts

The following are the causes of cataracts - 

  • Ultraviolet radiation
  • Overproduction of oxidants that are chemically altered due to everyday life
  • Radiation therapy
  • Some eye conditions, such as glaucoma, uveitis, or retina pigmentosa
  • Long-term use of steroids and other medications
  • Trauma
  • Smoking
  • Certain diseases, such as diabetes

Cataract Symptoms

The symptoms of cataracts are as follows -

  • Blurred, dim, or clouded vision
  • Double vision in the affected eye
  • Fading or yellowing of colors
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Seeing "halos" around lights
  • Requiring brighter light for reading and other activities
  • Difficulty seeing at night

See Also: 7 Signs You Might Have Cataracts

How Are Cataracts Diagnosed?

Our ophthalmologist will examine your eyes to identify any signs of cataracts and evaluate their severity. Also, they inquire about your medical history, vision, and any difficulties you may be experiencing in performing daily activities due to deteriorating eyesight.

Furthermore, they perform any of the following tests to confirm the diagnosis:

Visual Acuity Test: A vision test employs an eye chart to evaluate your ability to read a sequence of letters. One eye is tested at a time, and the other is covered. The chart or viewing device displays letters that gradually decrease in size, enabling your eye doctor to determine whether you are experiencing any visual difficulties.

Eye Structure Exam: Also referred to as a slit lamp exam, enables your eye doctor to examine the structures at the front of your eye closely. This test uses a narrow beam of light, or slit, to illuminate the structures in your eye, allowing your doctor to view them in small sections to make it easier to identify any abnormalities.

Retinal Exam: It involves examining the back of your eyes, specifically the retina. Before the exam, your eye doctor will put eye drops to dilate your pupils, making viewing the retina easier. Using a slit lamp or an ophthalmoscope, your eye doctor will examine your lens for any signs of a cataract.

Fluid Pressure Test: Also known as Applanation Tonometry, it measures the fluid pressure in your eye.

Cataract Treatment

Cataract surgery is the only way to treat cataracts and regain your clear vision. During the procedure, your ophthalmologist will surgically remove your cloudy natural lens and place an intraocular lens (IOL). The IOL is an artificial lens that remains permanently in your eye. 

There are various types of IOL lenses, and you can discuss with your provider to choose the one that works best for your vision and budget. One of the primary advantages of an IOL is its clarity, resembling that of your natural lens. Moreover, it can correct refractive errors, reducing your dependence on contact lenses or glasses post-surgery.

When Is Cataract Removal Surgery Necessary?

Surgery may be necessary when your cataracts begin to affect your quality of life, impacting your ability to read or drive at night. Often, you don't need to be in a hurry to get the surgery done, as cataracts don't harm your vision, and waiting to get them removed doesn't affect how well your vision recovers. Nevertheless, cataracts can quickly aggravate people with high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. So, discuss this with your ophthalmologist and act accordingly.

Final Thoughts

Though cataracts are a common, non-life-threatening condition, leaving them untreated for extended periods can cause blindness. So, timely diagnosis and treatment are indispensable, and for that, regular eye checkups are paramount. Cataracts develop slowly over time, often without noticeable symptoms in the early stages, so routine eye examinations help in early detection and prompt intervention. 

Get Best-in-Class Cataract Removal Surgery at Remagin

At Remagin, we are committed to providing top-notch cataract diagnosis and treatment to ensure optimal eye health and improved quality of life. With our state-of-the-art technology and highly skilled ophthalmologists, we provide individualized care and tailored treatment plans to every patient. Contact us today to have your cataracts removed safely and effectively.

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