A cataract is an opacity of the lens of the eye that can affect vision in one or both; it is one of the most frequent pathologies received in the consultation and is mainly related to aging; during all this stage, the lens continues to grow, and It develops layers of cells on its surface that later harden; in addition, the proteins in it begin to break down. As a consequence of this, the lens becomes opaque.
The lens is a biconvex, avascular, and transparent structure whose purpose is to focus light properly on the retina. When we see something, light rays travel to our eye through the pupil and are focused on the retina (back of the eye) through this structure. With age, little by little, the lens becomes less flexible, less transparent, and thicker. However, some factors increase the risk of developing cataracts, and we have:
- Very old age
- Having a family history of early cataract
- Maintain prolonged exposure to sunlight
- Arterial hypertension
- Previous injuries or inflammations in the eye
- Previous eye surgeries
- Long-term use of steroids (inhaled and orally)
Cataracts develop gradually, and as a result, vision changes or signs of cataracts may not be immediately noticeable in their early stages but you may need surgery later in places like Cataract surgery Chicago il for example. Gradually, as the cataracts progress, you may have symptoms such as:
- Blurred vision, painless
- Greater difficulty seeing in the night or low light
- Been Sensitive to light and glare
- Halos presence around the lights
- Need for clear light to read and other activities
- Constant changes in glasses prescription or contact lenses
- Blurry vision
- Distorted vision
Are There Other Types Of Cataracts?
Indeed, there are several types of cataracts, and they are divided into two subgroups: Acquired cataracts and congenital cataracts.
Among the acquired cataracts, we have:
- Those are related to age
- The traumatic cataract
- Drug-induced cataract
- Secondary cataract (inflammation, glaucoma, high myopia)
- Pre-senile cataract (diabetes mellitus)
- Congenital cataracts, as the name implies, appear from birth
How Are Cataracts Treated?
The definitive treatment for a cataract is surgery. If your vision is only slightly blurry, a change in your eyeglass prescription may be all you need for a period prescribed by your eye doctor. If you do not see enough to carry out your daily activities despite changing the glasses, cataract surgery should be considered, with visual improvement as the main indication.
The cloudy lens is removed through cataract surgery and replaced with a clear artificial lens, called an intraocular lens (IOL). Surgery is often done as an outpatient procedure and does not require a hospital stay.
How Effective Is Cataract Surgery?
In general, terms, if the patient does not present any concomitant disease, either systemic (diabetes mellitus, arterial hypertension) or ocular (glaucoma, retinal detachment, macular degeneration, etc.) and cataract surgery is successful, there is a high probability of a good visual recovery after it.
Are There Different Types Of Cataract Surgeries?
There are four types of cataract surgery in general terms:
Intracapsular cataract extraction (IICC) (The lens is completely removed. This technique is no longer used).
Extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE) (The lens nucleus is removed through an 8 to 10 mm incision, leaving behind an intact posterior capsule, and the IOL is inserted).
Cataract phacoemulsification (PHAC) (An ultrasound instrument breaks the center of the lens through a small incision and aspirates it. The IOL is then inserted).
Femtosecond laser cataract surgery.