What is Cataract?

This Section will help you understand more about:

  1. What is Cataract
  2. How cataracts develop
  3. How cataracts are treated with surgery
  4. What kind of costs to expect, and
  5. How long it will take you to recover from surgery
  6. The information will help you be more educated and involved in your eye doctor’s treatment through diagnosis, surgery and recovery.

What is Cataract?

  1. Like a camera, the eye sees when light enters it. Inside your eye is a natural clear lens, much like the lens of a camera. It focuses the light rays coming through the pupil onto the retina at the back of the eye. The different parts of the retina collect this light and send a message to your brain, enabling you to see.
  2. For perfect vision the lens should be clear so that light can pass through it. Light enters through the cornea, passes through your natural lens and is focused onto your retina, resulting in clear vision
  3. When the lens becomes cloudy or opaque, light cannot pass through it. Cataract scatters the light rays passing through the eye, thus resulting in blurred vision.
  4. A cataract is not a growth or a film over the eye, but it is a condition when the natural lens inside your eyes gets cloudy.
  5. Compared to vision with a clear lens, your vision with a cataract may look fuzzy, colors might be muted. As the disease progresses, it leads to painless, progressive decrease in vision which can also result in a poor quality of life, interfering with day-to-day activities like driving and reading.
  6. The symptoms of cataracts are progressive and cannot be corrected with glasses or contacts. When symptoms become bothersome or limit your daily activities, it’s time to consider treatment.
  7. As discussed above, Cataract is caused by the clouding of the natural lens of the eye and usually develops as a result of old age, but may occur in infants and young children too. This results in blurred vision, glare, and sensitivity to bright lights. Most cataracts develop slowly and don’t disturb your eyesight early on. But with time, cataracts will eventually interfere with your vision.
  8. A healthy lifestyle helps slow down the progression of cataract, but in case if it has progressed, or if the central vision deteriorates, the only option for its management is a surgery.
  9. At first, stronger lighting and eyeglasses can help you deal with cataracts. But if impaired vision interferes with your usual activities, you might need cataract surgery.
  10. Fortunately, cataract surgery is generally a safe, effective procedure.

What causes Cataract?

  1. The most common cause of cataract is degenerative changes due to the aging process. With age, proteins in the natural lens degenerate, resulting in a clouded lens called a cataract.
  2. There might be other causes such as:
    • Health conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, glaucoma, smoking, eye injuries, infection, and inflammation inside the eye
    • Prolonged use of certain medications can also lead to cataract formation
    • Cataract may also occur in children due to genetic or metabolic defect or due to infection and trauma.

What are the symptoms of Cataract?

If you have cataract, you may experience some or all of the following symptoms.

  1. Cloudy vision.
  2. Colors of objects may appear faded.
  3. Poor eyesight at night.
  4. Difficulty in driving at night, especially because of the glare of lights.
  5. Difficulty in reading in dim light.
  6. Colored halos.
  7. You may see multiple images or double images.

How can the Cataract be removed?

  1. In cataract surgery your natural clouded lens will be replaced by an artificial intraocular lens (IOL).
  2. This lens helps the incoming light rays to focus properly on your retina, thus enabling you to see clearly.
  3. Your new lens should be able to restore vision to nearly what it was earlier, though you may need to wear glasses for reading or driving.