When it comes to eye problems, people usually neglect symptoms that occur over time. What you should know is that these symptoms warn you that something is wrong and that ignoring them could trigger even more severe eye diseases. Therefore, the faster you spot a particular symptom and have it treated, the easier your recovery will be. One of the most common eye issues is a cataract, which can affect practically anyone. That why it is important for all of us to know how to recognize and treat it. Here are most crucial facts about cataracts.
What is a cataract?
A cataract is an eye disease that affects and clouds the lenses in our eyes, causing blurred vision. The lenses, which lie behind the iris and the pupil, function similarly to camera lenses. Therefore, their purpose is to focus the light on the retina, a nerve layer at the back of our eyes. When the retina is reached by light, it transforms into a nerve signal that is sent forward to our brain. Therefore, if the lenses are affected by the cataract, they cannot send out a sharp image to the retina, which finally causes one’s blurred vision. There are three basic types of a cataract, depending on its characteristics, including subcapsular, cortical and nuclear cataract.
What causes cataracts?
The most common factor that causes a cataract is the process of aging. Our eye lenses consist mostly of water and protein, which are arranged in a precise manner. As we age, this order changes and the proteins start merging and clouding the lenses. If not treated immediately, the cataract might spread, worsening one’s vision even more. Numerous medical researches have shown that, apart from aging, there are numerous other factors that could cause a cataract, including particular diseases like diabetes, the use of alcohol and smoking, a well as constant exposure to radiation or sunlight.
What are the symptoms?
There are numerous symptoms that could indicate a cataract, including blurry vision, faded colors and poor night vision. Cataract might also affect the way in which we see things around us, causing double vision or even multiple images. Another indicator of a cataract might be constant deterioration of our eyesight and changes in one’s dioptre. None of these symptoms is characteristic for a cataract only, which means that, in order to be completely sure about your eye issues, you need to consult your ophthalmologist.
How is a cataract treated?
If detected on time, a cataract might be treated with adequate glasses or magnifying lenses. If such a treatment doesn’t help, one might undergo a cataract surgery, which usually requires the removal of the lenses and replacing them with artificial ones. Sometimes, a cataract is so small that it doesn’t even affect our vision. However, once it starts interfering in our everyday activities, it has to be removed immediately.
What you should know is that there are several types of a cataract surgery, including phacoemulsification and extracapsular ones. You should never rush. Instead, consult a specialist experienced in removing cataracts and see if you are a right candidate for the surgery. And if you opt for the procedure, your vision may be a bit blurry at first as your eye is healing and adjusting, but you’ll feel improvement in a few days. Once your eyes are completely healed your doctor will prescribe you eyeglasses as most of the people need to wear them at least a little while after cataract surgery.
All in all, a cataract is one of the most common eye diseases that can be easily treated when detected on time, or lead to numerous health problems if constantly ignored. Therefore, once you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms, do a regular checkup and consult your ophthalmologist about adequate treatment or a possible surgery. Remember, health is always our number one priority!