Cataract information

A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye.

When we look at something, light rays enter our eyes through the pupil and are focused with the help of the lens on the retina – a layer of light-sensitive cells in the back of the eye.

The lens must be completely transparent to focus light properly on the retina. If the lens begins to darken, this condition is called a cataract.

Cataract is the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 40 and is the number one cause of blindness in the world according to the World Health Organization.

There are more cases of cataract in the world than glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy combined also according to WHO data.

Cataract types

Cataract types are different and each one is characterized by unique features and symptoms.

Subcapsular cataract is one of the most specific types of cataract that develops in the back of the eye lens.

This type of cataract is especially troublesome for people with diabetes and those taking certain medications, such as steroids.

Subcapsular cataracts can progress rapidly and often lead to significant vision loss. It is important to note that early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve the prognosis for this type of cataract.

Nuclear cataract, on the other hand, is more common and is usually associated with the aging process. The clouding of the lens is concentrated in its central area, known as the nucleus.

Characteristic symptoms include progressive blurring of vision, change in color vision, and often increasing myopia.

Cortical cataract is the third main type of cataract that develops in the cortex of the lens, covering its central area.

This type of cataract is characterized by white wedge-shaped opacities that start at the periphery of the lens and reach its center, resembling the spokes of a wheel when viewed.

Symptoms may include problems with light sensitivity, especially in bright light or driving at night.

Although each of these types of cataracts has its own specific characteristics, they all lead to the same thing – a reduction in the quality of vision.

That is why it is important to consult a specialist, who will prescribe the appropriate treatment.

Cataract symptoms

It starts almost imperceptibly and initially its effect on your vision is hardly felt.

You may notice that your vision has become a little more blurry as if the weather is constantly foggy or you are looking at an impressionistic painting.

Blurred and blurred vision can be among the first symptoms of cataracts. With cataracts, it may seem to you that the light from the sun or the lamp is too bright.

Or you may notice when you’re driving at night that the headlights of oncoming cars dazzle you more than usual. Also, colors don’t look as saturated anymore.

The type of cataract you have determines exactly which symptoms will occur and how soon they will occur.

In the first stage of nuclear cataract, vision for nearby objects temporarily improves – this condition is called “second sight”.

Unfortunately, improved vision is short-lived and as the disease progresses, vision rapidly deteriorates. On the other hand, a subcapsular cataract may not cause any symptoms until it is advanced enough.

If you think that you have any of these symptoms, make an appointment with an eye doctor, who will dispel any doubts and, if there is a problem, offer you the right treatment for you.

What causes cataracts?

The lenses in our eyes are very much like a camera lens, focusing light on the retina so we can see clearly.

They also adjust this focus through accommodation depending on whether we are looking near and far.

Lens are mainly made up of water and proteins. The proteins are arranged in a precise way, which keeps the lens transparent, so light can pass through it.

But with age, some of the proteins that make up the lens become insoluble in water, and this is actually the cause of the darkening of areas of the lens, a condition medically defined as the disease cataract.

No one knows for sure why the lens of the eye darkens with age, causing cataracts.

But scientists around the world have identified certain ones that can increase the risk of developing cataracts. In addition to aging, the lens can darken as a result of:

  • Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and other sources;
  • Diabetes;
  • Hypertension;
  • Overweight;
  • Tobacco smoking;
  • Prolonged use of corticosteroids;
  • Long-term use of a statin drug used to lower bad cholesterol;
  • Previous eye injuries or infections ;
  • Previous eye surgery;
  • Hormone replacement therapy;
  • Significant consumption of alcohol;
  • Advanced stage of myopia;
  • Hereditary predisposition.

One theory about the appearance of cataracts is gaining more and more supporters among medical professionals, that in the majority of cases cataracts are caused by the change in the oxidation processes in the human lens.

This is supported by research from nutritionists, which suggests that antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables may help prevent some types of cataracts.

Another thing you can do if you want to reduce your risk of developing cataracts is to wear safety glasses that block 100% of the sun’s UV rays when you’re outside.

Treatment of cataracts

When the symptoms of cataracts start to cause you discomfort, you may improve your vision for a while by starting to wear new glasses, if you have been wearing them before, or by starting to wear if you haven’t.

Strong bifocals would also help you see better, you should also be careful about how much light you expose your eyes to.

Consider surgery when your vision is sufficiently impaired by advanced cataracts and this condition affects your daily life.

Many people think that poor vision is inevitable as we age, but cataract surgery is an extremely simple and painless procedure that will allow you to regain normal vision.

Recovery from cataract surgery is kept to an absolute minimum as the surgery is bloodless and takes about 5-10 minutes, you won’t even need to take a hospital stay. < /em>

During the operation, through a small incision in the eye, the surgeon removes your cloudy natural lens and replaces it with a clear plastic intraocular lens.

Modern plastic lenses are made in such a way that they will also correct farsightedness, so after the operation you will be able to see clearly at any distance without the need to wear glasses or contact lenses.

Another new, more advanced type of intraocular plastic lens is made to block ultraviolet and blue light rays, which research shows can be dangerous to the retina.

You should also be aware that some prostatitis medications can cause intraoperative floppy iris syndrome during cataract surgery.

Cataract Prevention

Cataract prevention is an important topic that affects many people, especially those over the age of 40. Although cataracts are often associated with aging, there are many ways we can prevent or slow down their development.

First, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes a balanced diet rich in antioxidants that help protect cells from oxidative stress.

Fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins C and E, lutein and zeaxanthin can help protect the eyes from damage. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and walnuts may also be beneficial.

Eye protection from sunlight is critical. Excessive exposure to ultraviolet light can increase the risk of developing cataracts. That’s why it’s important to wear sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays when we’re outside.

Regular vision checks are key to early detection of cataracts. Doctors may notice changes in the eyes that may indicate the onset of cataracts even before symptoms appear.

If you are diabetic or have other health conditions that may increase your risk of cataracts, it is important to manage these conditions.

This may include regular blood sugar and blood pressure checks, as well as taking necessary medications.

Cataract – a serious disease

In conclusion, cataracts can be a serious disease that leads to a significant reduction in vision and quality of life.

However, there are many ways we can prevent or slow down its development. A healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and regular exercise, plays a key role.

If you have health problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure, it is important to manage them effectively as they can increase your risk of cataracts.

Limiting alcohol consumption and avoiding smoking can also help.

Finally, it is important to remember that despite our best efforts, cataracts can still develop. In this case, we should not despair.

Modern medicine offers effective methods of treating cataracts, including surgeries that can significantly improve vision.

That is why it is important to consult an ophthalmologist at the first signs of vision problems.

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