Cataracts: Definition, What Are They, Symptoms, Surgery, Causes, Treatment

Cataract is an eye disorder characterized by blurred vision. This is the number one cause of blindness in the world. It is most often related to age but can also be a congenital condition. A surgical operation is the only treatment for cataracts.

Cataracts: Definition, What Are They, Symptoms, Surgery, Causes, Treatment
Cataracts: Definition, What Are They, Symptoms, Surgery, Causes, Treatment

What Are Cataracts?

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Cataract is a disturbance of vision resulting from opacification of the oval lens located inside the eye, behind the pupil. The lens, like the lens of a camera, is used to focus images on the retina. Cataract is a blurred vision that gives the impression of looking through a waterfall. It is this sensation that gives it its name. In Latin, cataracta means "waterfall".

People over the age of 65 are the most affected by this disorder, which most often results from the aging of the eye. It is the biggest cause of blindness in the world, with glaucoma and macular degeneration.

Symptoms: How To Recognize A Cataract?

Most of the time, the evolution of the cataract happens over several years. The lens of the eye gradually loses its transparency and the vision becomes progressively cloudy. Stains or small dots may appear in the field of vision. Visual acuity becomes less and less precise, causing discomfort when reading or watching television. A person with cataracts often feels as if they have a white veil on their eyes, or are looking from behind a waterfall. The perception of colours and contrasts is much less clear. Cataract also speeds up myopia. This requires a fairly regular change in the prescription of glasses and lenses.

Causes Of Cataracts

Aging is the main risk factor for cataracts. With age, the protein that makes up the lens becomes gradually hard and opaque, for some unexplained reason. This is called senile cataract. Conversely, congenital cataract appears from birth in the context of a congenital disease such as Down syndrome. It remains extremely rare.

Cataracts can also be secondary. That is, it occurs as a result of an event such as an illness (including diabetes), poorly dosed treatment (eg cortisone) or eye surgery. An injury to the eye (cut, burn, blow ...) can cause traumatic cataract. Some factors such as intense exposure to ultraviolet light, smoking, or excessive alcohol consumption may increase your risk.

Treatment And Operation Of Cataracts

In the event of an eye problem, it is important to consult an ophthalmologist. If diagnosed at an early stage, cataracts can improve with simple measures such as wearing stronger glasses or using brighter lights. In case of more serious cataract where the discomfort is troublesome, the only possible treatment is surgical intervention. Eye drops and ointments will have no effect on the transparency of the lens. The operation consists of the removal of the lens to restore transparency and its replacement by an artificial lens. It lasts on average between 15 and 30 minutes under local anaesthetic. It will take a month for the treatment to reach its full effect. It is important to have regular check-ups to check for any complications.

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