There are several symptoms of a developing cataract:
- Hazy or foggy vision: One of the most noticeable symptoms of the presence of a cataract is blurry or cloudy vision. As the cataract develops, the proteins in the eye lens start to break down and adhere together. Initially, the cloudiness may be limited to a small region where proteins are present, and it may seem like a foggy patch in that area of the eye lens. Rubbing or blinking does not make it go away. The hazy spot may expand in size over time and can cover the entire lens.
- Dull vision: The presence of a hazy film over the eyes can reduce the vibrancy of colours.
- Dimming of vision: With the development of cataracts, the opacity of the eye lens increases. It impedes the amount of light reaching the retina. As a result, the brightness of the image forming on the retina decreases.
- Difficulty perceiving and seeing in low light: As the condition worsens, it becomes more difficult to see and see in low-light conditions. Driving and reading at night can become more challenging.
- Seeing halo effects around lights: The presence of cataracts can cause light to diffuse into the eyes. It might result in the formation of a halo surrounding the light source.
- Light sensitivity: The direct glare of the sun or from a car headlight can be irritating. The eyes become very sensitive to light due to cataracts.
When is the best time to treat Cataracts?
When an ophthalmologist determines that a patient has cataracts, the next concern is when to take the necessary steps to treat cataracts. Rather than you choosing when to get the treatment, the best time to have it done will be advised by your ophthalmologist based on your condition.
It is preferable to choose surgery to treat cataracts if advancements in cataracts lead to changes in the number of eyeglasses frequently. Ophthalmologists occasionally advise surgery to treat eye cataracts that are still in the early stages, such as in cases of glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, etc.
The eye cataract treatment is a procedure in which the lens of the eye is replaced with an artificial lens. Cataract surgery in patients with glaucoma has to be timed diligently under an expert ophthalmologist.
In fact, there is no set period that is ideal to treat eye cataracts. It depends on the degree of visual fog, your lifestyle, and your preferences. Sometimes, your doctor will prescribe medication for cataracts. It is essential to make this decision after consulting your trusted ophthalmologist who will perform a detailed evaluation of your complete physical condition to decide upon the eye cataract treatment.
Why do you need cataract surgery?
Some cataracts in their initial stages can resolve on their own. However, the advancement of cataracts can interfere with vision. It necessitates a cataract-removal surgery. Cataract surgery is the only option to treat advanced cataracts of the lens. It is preferable to undergo cataract-removal surgery at an early stage. Delaying the surgery deteriorates vision and also increases the risk of inflammation and glaucoma in the eyes. Surgery is necessary because prompt removal of a cataract can help you avoid future complications and improve your vision. One of the first things you should do if you notice any symptoms is to consult an ophthalmologist and discuss treatment options.
Types of tests for Cataract Surgery
A correct diagnosis of a cataract is critical. An ophthalmologist will perform a series of tests to make a diagnosis.
- Slit-lamp test: The procedure involves using a slit lamp to evaluate the anatomy of the eye. As light dilates the pupil, cataracts and other problems are diagnosed.
- Retinal examination: During this procedure, an ophthalmologist checks the eye lens, the optic nerves, and the retina. It is done with the help of an ophthalmoscope.
- Tonometry: It is a test that measures intraocular pressure (pressure inside the eyes). During this examination, a tiny probe is put on the eyes to measure intraocular pressure.
- Visual Acuity Test: The sharpness of one’s vision can be tested by reading letters from a distance on a standard chart. It is a comprehensive eye examination.
- Contrast sensitivity test: Cataracts might impair one’s ability to see in proper contrast. This test measures the eye’s ability to detect contrast.
- Potential acuity test: This test is performed to determine how well you might see if you did not have cataracts. This test identifies whether cataract surgery might help improve your eyesight or not.
What Causes a Cataract?
A cataract is essentially cloudiness in the lens of your eye. It is fairly common in people over the age of 40 years and if you are wondering what causes cataracts, read on to find out more.
The lens in your eyes gets thicker, less flexible, and less transparent as you get older. Proteins and fibres within the lenses deteriorate and clump together due to ageing and other medical disorders clouding the lenses.
The cloudiness gets denser as the cataract progresses. A cataract prevents your retina from receiving a clearly defined image by scattering and blocking light as it travels through the lens. Your eyesight becomes hazy as a result, and this is what causes cataracts. Though age is the most common determinant, other factors may contribute to a cataract.
Apart from age, you are also more vulnerable to developing a cataract. Cataract reasons include:
- Having certain health issues, such as diabetes
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Having a family history of cataracts
- There is a previous eye injury, eye surgery, or any radiation
- Spending a lot of time outside in the sun is one of the important cataract reasons
- Are on medications such as steroids (medicines used to treat a variety of health problems, like arthritis and rashes)
The majority of age-related cataracts appear gradually. Other cataracts, such as those in young people or those with diabetes, can develop more quickly.
Cataracts can have a negative effect on daily living. Routine tasks like driving and reading become more challenging when the vision deteriorates. Cataracts typically appear as people get older. Although it happens rarely, cataracts can develop in the eyes of both adults and children. Since the clouding only affects a small portion of the eye lens, the early signs of cataracts are hardly noticeable.
What is the treatment for Cataracts?
Cataract treatment includes both surgical and non-surgical cataract treatments.
Non-surgical Cataract treatments are preferred when the cataract is in its early stage.
The non-surgical treatments are centered around improving the overall vision. The doctors examine the extent of cataracts, modify the eye prescription accordingly and suggest strategies for vision improvement like:
- Anti-glare glasses
- Changing the eyeglass prescription for sharper images
- Reading in a well-lit light condition.
Cataracts at advanced stages can interfere with daily living, and non-surgical treatments render ineffective in such instances. The only alternative is undergoing cataract-removal surgery. Cataract removal surgery involves the extraction of the clouded lens and the insertion of a clear artificial lens. The surgery can be performed by one of the following procedures:
- Phacoemulsification: One of the most common procedures for cataract removal is phacoemulsification. The procedure involves using an ultrasonic-emitting device. This device is inserted into the eyes through a small incision. The ultrasonic waves soften and break up the affected lens. After that, the broken lens is removed by sucking it up with a small tube. An artificial intraocular lens is then inserted through a small corneal incision. The procedure requires few to no stitches to close the incision. This is a rapid and minimally invasive procedure with no severe complications.
- Laser cataract surgery: It is an advanced cataract-removal surgery that makes use of a femtosecond laser. An optical coherence tomography instrument is used which provides a highly magnified, high-resolution image of the eye. An incision is made in the eye and the lens is broken up into smaller fragments with the help of the laser. The fractured lens fragments are removed using a tiny tube, and an intraocular lens is inserted.
- Extracapsular cataract surgery(ECCS): In this surgery, a larger incision is made instead of a smaller incision. The operation entails removing the entire clouded lens in one piece. However, the lens capsule is left partially intact. The capsule helps with the implantation of the artificial lens(IOL). Multiple stitches or sutures may be necessary to close the incision after the surgery.
- Intracapsular cataract surgery(ICCS): It involves the removal of the whole lens and the lens capsule too through a large incision. This technique is highly intrusive and is reserved for cataracts that are too large to be extracted by other methods.
Laser and Phacoemulsification are advanced procedures that are very effective and the recovery is swift.
What can you expect if you decide to have cataract surgery?
You may become more sensitive to the sun and find it more difficult to engage in daily activities if you have cataract. If you experience any of these signs, eye drops for cataracts or surgery might be beneficial.
Your ophthalmologist will decide if surgery is necessary after a complete eye examination. If the cataract is large enough to crowd the inside of the eye, which could lead to elevated pressure in the eye, surgery may be advised. Medications for cataracts may be prescribed at the discretion of the ophthalmologist
Your doctor will perform several tests a week or two before your treatment to gauge your eye’s size and shape and select the best lens for you. Before surgery, you won’t be allowed to eat or drink anything for 12 hours.
Although you will be awake during the surgery, your doctor will use medication to numb your eye so that you won’t feel any pain. They might also administer a sedative to you.
Typically, the procedure lasts well under an hour. Your surgeon will make a very small incision in the cornea, occasionally with the use of a laser. They will insert a little tool through this to gently break up the cataract and suck it out.
The new lens, which is made of plastic, silicone, or acrylic, will then be installed, and the cut will be stitched up. You’ll likely need two separate procedures, usually spaced a few weeks apart if you have cataracts in both eyes.
The anaesthesia may cause you to feel drowsy or a little “odd,” but this should only last a short while. For a few days after surgery, your eyes could feel slightly irritated and sensitive to light.
You can resume exercising after about a week, and your ophthalmologist will inform you of any additional restrictions and when you can drive again following cataract surgery. After a month, and with your doctor’s consent, you can soon resume all of your favourite activities.
Who all are affected by cataract?
A cataract is a common vision defect among the older population of India. According to studies, about 74% of adults of or above 60 years of age have cataracts or have undergone cataract surgery.
In this condition, the transparent lens of our eye blocks or scatters the light, disrupting clear vision. This cloudy lens is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens during the surgery, aiding in clear and normal vision. Hence, the surgery is also called lens replacement surgery.
Although it is a safe procedure with a nearly 98% success rate, you must get it done by an expert ophthalmologist to avoid any possible risks or side effects and get the best results.
Why Choose Dr. Deepa Gupta The Best Cataract Surgeon In Gurgaon?
Dr. Deepa Gupta is a highly accomplished and renowned ophthalmologist with extensive experience in treating both simple and complex conditions. After completing her Master’s, Dr. Gupta took Super Speciality Training in Cataract, Cornea, and Refractive Surgery as a Senior Resident for 3 years. Since getting her Master’s degree, she has had around 12 years of experience in the same field to date. Dr. Deepa Gupta is a fellow of the International Council of Ophthalmologists, UK. She is also an active member of the Delhi Ophthalmological Society (DOS), the Gurgaon Ophthalmological Society (GOS), and the All India Ophthalmological Society. She has presented and published several of her works for the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.
Dr. Deepa Gupta specializes in inpatient and outpatient treatments and is proficient in complex surgical procedures like no injection stitchless phacoemulsification. Due to her thorough knowledge and expert precision, Dr. Deepa Gupta has a healing success rate of over 95% and has treated over five hundred patients.
To get the best consultation, diagnosis, and cost-effective treatment for cataracts, book an appointment with Dr. Deepa Gupta now!