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Cataract

Cataract

Definition 

A cataract is a blurriness in the crystalline of the eye that hinders the vision. The cataracts are a problem that all people will suffer from at a some point of their lives. However, they are not something to worry about. İt isn’t a type of disease, it is only an ocular aging, thus we will all be affected by it in the future. Nowadays, surgery is the best treatment.

The cataracts make a very important problem of public health because of its relation to one’s aging. The cataract consists of an opacification of the internal lens of the eye known as the crystalline, this one’s purpose is focusing while healthy, clear and transparent. İt isn’t a tumor, skin formation or new tissues on the eye either, rather it is the lens itself that becomes blurry.

Causes 

Other than aging, there are factors that can anticipate the appearance of the cataracts. A hit, a puncture, a cut, extreme heat or a burn caused by chemical agents are factors that can bring harm to the crystalline resulting in a traumatised cataract.

There seems to be wrong beliefs about this matter. For example, the cataracts don’t happen because of an excessive use of one’s vision, nor for forcing it. However, it is true that there are professions  linked to its appearance. Like in the case of glass blowers . The people who make a living by making crystals, are constantly exposed to high temperatures and looking continuously at the light of the oven on top of that. This professionals develop cataracts earlier than most people do. This way, there seems to be a direct relation between intense light and the developpement of cataracts. However, sports like skiying, which is practiced in very low temperature environments doesn’t hold any risks.

Furthermore, there are ways for eye protection to prevent ocular damage, like sunglasses for example.

There are also diseases or conditions that may cause the appearance of the cataracts :

  • Eye inflammation.
  • Prolonged use of cortosteroides or other medications.
  • Frequent exposition to radiation.
  • Having had surgery for another eye problem.

Symptoms :

According to the size and location of the areas of the crystalline’s opacity, a person can or can’t realize the fact that he’s developping a cataract. For example, if this one is located in the exterior edge of the lens, the vision does not change; but if the opacity is located near the center of the lens, it interfers generally with the vision. As the cataracts increase, the vision becomes more blurry. This decrease of the visual acuity is one of the most clear and typical symptoms in people who are developping a cataract.

The eyes may have a major sensitivity to light which makes driving more difficult. Also, an alteration in the perception of colors can happen. And in many cases you can get diplopia. Although no one is safe from suffering from cataracts, there are people who have a major predisposition. Myopics and diabetics are an irrigation groups and tend to get cataracts in an early age. There is also a type of congenital cataract that develops in babies.

Prevention :

Although cataracts are very frequent and occur due to ocular aging, avoiding most of the factors mentioned above can delay its appearance, like quitting smoking or using sunglasses to protect one’s self from solar UV rays.

Types :

The most common type of cataracts is the senile cataract that appears usually in people who are between 65 and 70 years old. But this fact isn’t totally precise, since there is also those who develop cataracts in earlier ages, around 55 years old, and there are even those who don’t develop cataracts even after reaching 80 years old.

Mainly, there are 4 types of cataracts :

  • Secondary cataract : İt happens after having undergone an eye surgery for another eye problem.
  • Traumatic cataract : Appears after getting hit in the eye .
  • Congenital cataract : Appears after birth or shortly after, it usually doesn’t affect the vision because of its small size.
  • Cataract caused by radiation

Diagnostic :

The patient usually goes to see an ophthalmologist because he noticed a vision loss. There are tests for the diagnostic like the determination of the visual acuity, reading the letters or rows and with the visual acuity lamp, can be diagnosed if it is cataracts.

The physician can see a cataract while examinating the eye with the ophthalmoscope. Using a slit lamp, the physician can see the exact location and the extention of its opacity.

Treatments :

There are drugs like eyedrops, ointments, pills or even special diets and ocular excercises that make a delay of the appearance of this ocular aging, but it is not recommended since the senile cataract will appear irrevocably.

The only treatment proven to be effective is surgery. This technique consists of extracting the opaque crystalline. İt is done by ultrasound with which an incision of 3mm in size is done above the eye. Then, the cataract is eliminated, and through the same wound, a folding acrylic intraocular lens that replaces the opaque crystalline is colocated. Because the wound is so tiny, no stitches are needed even though there are doctors who do one to stay on the safe side.

Generally, people who exhibit a cataract can determine the time in which they wish to remove it surgically. When they feel insecure, uncomfortable or unable to do their everyday tasks, that would be the proper time for the surgery. There is no need to undergo the surgery before that point.