Understanding Cataracts

Understanding Cataracts

Oct 01, 2020

A cataract is a cloudy area that forms in your eye’s lens. It is formed when your eye proteins clump together and prevent the exchange of clear images between the lens and retina. The retina is responsible for converting the light coming through the eye lens into signals. It then sends these signals to your optic nerve that takes them to your brain.

Cataracts progress quietly and slowly and eventually interfere with your vision. It is possible to have them in both eyes, although they form at different times. This condition is common among the elderly in the community.

Symptoms

You should see an eye doctor for cataracts if you experience the following wall signs:

  • Reduced vision
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Seeing colors differently
  • Problems with glare
  • Double vision
  • The halo effect
  • Nearsightedness
  • Trouble with prescription glasses
  • Causes of Cataracts

There are several causes of cataracts, including:

  • Oxidant overproduction
  • Smoking behaviors
  • Ultraviolet Radiation
  • Prolonged use of steroids and other medications
  • Some conditions like diabetes
  • Radiation therapy
  • Trauma or injury to the eye

Types of Cataracts

Several types of cataracts exist, and they are classified according to the pace and manner they develop.

  • Nuclear Cataracts: They form at the center of the eye lens and cause the nucleus’ browning or yellowing.
  • Cortical Cataracts: These are wedge-shaped and occur on the nucleus’ edge.
  • Posterior Capsular Cataracts: Compared to nuclear and cortical cataracts, these form faster and occur at the back of your eye lens.
  • Congenital Cataracts: A baby may be born with them, or they may develop within the first year. Compared to age-related cataracts, there are less rampant.
  • Secondary Cataracts: They result from medications or diseases. Diabetes and glaucoma are some of the illnesses associated with cataract development. Also, using steroids and other medications could cause cataracts.
  • Traumatic Cataracts: They develop several years after eye trauma or injury.
  • Radiation Cataracts: These may occur in cancer patients after undergoing radiation therapy.

Risk Factors

Although any person can develop cataracts, certain factors increase your susceptibility:

  • Old age
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma
  • Previous eye trauma or injury
  • High blood pressure
  • Genealogy
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Exposure to radiation

How Cataracts Are Diagnosed

At Glendale Eye Medical Group, your cataract eye specialist in Glendale, CA, will examine your eye to check for any vision problems. They may also do an eye chart test to test your vision at various distances. For your eye pressure, tonometry will be used.

A typical tonometry test involves flattening your cornea and testing eye pressure using a puff of air. The doctor may also put drops in the eyes to dilate your pupils, making it easier to check for damages in the retina and cornea. They may also check your color perception and glare sensitivity.

Treating Cataracts

Before resorting to surgery, there are different ways your doctor can manage your symptoms. They may recommend magnifying lenses, stronger eyeglasses, or sunglasses with anti-glare coating.

If your condition prevents you from going about your routine, it may be time to consider surgery. Your doctor may also recommend surgery if cataracts interfere with the treatment of other eye problems.

Phacoemulsification is one surgical procedure that involves using ultrasound waves to disintegrate the lens and extract the pieces. During extracapsular surgery, your doctor makes an incision in the cornea and removes the cloudy part of your lens. They then place an artificial intraocular lens in the position that was initially occupied by the natural lens.

If your cataracts need surgery, you shouldn’t be afraid as the procedure is safe, and the success rates are high. Besides, you can go back home soon after surgery.

Preventing Cataracts

The following tips will help lower the risk of developing cataracts:

  • Wearing sunglasses to protect the eyes from the effects of UVB rays. Ultra Violet light from the sun is a huge contributor to the development of cataracts.
  • Going for eye examinations regularly
  • Quitting smoking
  • Eating vegetables and fruits containing antioxidants. These foods supply the body with essential vitamins and nutrients. The antioxidants help keep your eye health in check.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Keeping your medical conditions in check. Diabetes patients, in particular, need to follow their treatment plans strictly.
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