R P Eye Institute
Cataract is a clouding or opacity of the normally transparent lens inside the eye, thus preventing the light rays from passing into the eye. It is a part of normal ageing process, and hence is seen commonly in patients above 50 years of age. Cataract is managed by surgery which involves removal of the opaque lens, and replacing it with an artificial intra ocular lens (IOL). With the advancements in the instrumentation and techniques, cataract surgery has become very reliable, safe and successful procedure with minimal discomfort to the patient, and early visual recovery
What are the common symptoms of cataract?
Cataract usually forms and progresses slowly and therefore leads to a gradual blurring of vision. It may also cause other symptoms like frequent change of glasses, glare, change in color vision etc.
What is the treatment ?
Can it be cured by medicines?
There are no medications, eye drops, exercises or glasses that will cause cataracts to disappear once they have formed. Surgery is the only way to remove a cataract.
When should one get operated for cataract?
The timing of cataract surgery largely depends upon the needs of the patient. When the vision loss due to cataract is significant enough to hamper one’s routine activities, the cataract may be operated upon. It is not necessary to wait for cataract to ‘ripen’ of ‘mature’. In fact, a more advanced stage of cataract is sometimes more difficult to manage by newer techniques like phacoemulsification.
What are the surgical options, and which one is the best?
The various options are extra capsular (non phaco) surgery with lens implant, phacoemulsification with a foldable or non-foldable lens implant. The best procedure for most patients is stich less phacoemulsification with a foldable intraocular lens. However, for some selected patients an alternative method may be more suitable. What is Phacoemulsification?
It is a painless procedure done under local anesthesia with or without an injection, using a very small incision. Through this small incision, the tip of the instrument is introduced into the eye. This tip uses localized high frequency waves to break the cataract into very minute fragments and pieces, which are then sucked out in a controlled manner through the same tip. A thin ‘capsule’ or shell is left behind after cleaning up of the entire opaque cataract. A foldable intra ocular lens is then inserted through the same small incision and is supported on this capsule.
Once the clouded lens has been removed, the next step is to replace it. That is, to implant an artificial lens that will do the work of your own lens. This artificial lens is referred to as an intraocular lens or IOL.
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