UNDERSTANDING CATARACT

Cataracts occur when there is a buildup of protein in the lens that makes it cloudy. This prevents light from passing clearly through the lens, causing some loss of vision. Since new lens cells form on the outside of the lens, all the older cells are compacted into the center of the lens resulting in the cataract.

Common Causes of Cataract

  • Age related /Senile: This is the common cause and it occurs as a result of natural aging
  • Traumatic cataract : Develops as a result of injury to the eye
  • Metabolic Cataract : Occurs as a result of defect in body metabolism like diabetes
  • Infection or inflammation in the eye
  • Certain medication can lead to cataract if taken for prolong period e.g. Steroids
  • Congenital Cataract : Rarely babies are sometimes born with cataracts as a result of an infection, injury, or poor development before they were born, or they may develop during childhood.
  • Second Cataract: Develop as a result of other eye disease such as glaucoma or chronic inflammation.

Symptoms of Cataract

  • An early sign is increasing glare from strong sunlight or, bright light at night making night driving difficult.
  • There may be hazy or lured vision making it difficult to read small print or perform fine tasks.
  • Double vision or distortion of images may occur. .
  • Things may seem brighter in one eye than the other.
  • There may be a need to change glasses frequently. .
  • There may be poor depth perception e.g. difficulty in getting downstairs. .

When should one be operated upon for cataract.

When a cataract causes enough loss of sight to interfere with the patients routine lifestyle, its time to remove it. One should not wait for cataract to ‘ripe’ or mature. The less mature the cataract the easier the surgery and faster the recovery.

Treatment of Cataract

This involves removal of clouded lens and its replacement with clear synthetic Intraocular Lens (IOL). Surgical removal is the only treatment for cataract. The decision to operate is taken jointly taken by the doctor and patient.

There are two treatment options available

ECCE – A conventional technique

  • Requires an incision 10-12mm Multiple stitches
  • Clouded lens is removed in one piece
  • A non foldable lens is implanted
  • More chances of high post operative cylindrical number.

This procedure is obsolete.

Micro Incision Cataract Surgery (Phacoemulsification Technique)

  • A modern technique
  • Incision 2mm -3mm
  • Stichless operation
  • Cataract is liquefied by ultrasound energy and sucked through the
  • phacoemlsifier probe
  • Then an Intraocular lens is implanted in the eye permanently..

Advantage of Phaco

  • Faster healing
  • Less trauma to the eye
  • It is stichless operation and is done under local or tropical (eye drops) anesthesia.
  • Quicker resumption of normal activity
  • Less chances of post operative cylindrical number.