Hyderabad Ophthalmologists' Association

Cataract

What is a Cataract ?

Anything you see is an image that enters your eye in the form of light. Inside your eye is a lens, much like the lens of a camera. The lens focuses the light rays coming through the pupil onto the retina at the back of the eye. The different parts of the retina collect this light and send a message to your brain, enabling you to see.

For perfect vision the lens should be clear so that light can pass through it and reach the retina. When the lens becomes cloudy or opaque, light cannot pass through it and the vision becomes dim or blurred. A cloudy lens is called a cataract. A cataract is not a growth or a film over the eye — it is a cloudiness of the natural lens inside your eye.

Causes of Cataract 

The most common cause of cataract is the deterioration of the normal structure within the lens of the eye with age. There may be other causes like diabetes, kidney disease, glaucoma, smoking, eye injuries, infection, and inflammation inside the eye. Prolonged use of certain medications can also lead to cataract formation.
In the early stages, you can improve your vision by changing your glasses. But once the cataract progresses, changing glasses will not help. You will notice some deterioration in your ability to see things clearly from a distance. You may have difficulty with glare while driving, or while performing activities like reading that require clear vision. Other symptoms may be colored haloes, or double or multiple images in the eye when the other eye is occluded.

A cataract may develop slowly over several years or rapidly within months. Often the other eye will also be affected, but it may not happen at the same time. There are no medications, eye drops, or dietary restrictions that can cure or prevent cataract formation. If the cataract interferes with your regular activities, the only solution is surgery.

In cataract surgery your natural clouded lens is replaced by an artificial intraocular lens (IOL), which helps incoming light rays to be focused properly. Your new lens should restore vision to nearly what it was earlier, though you may need to wear glasses for reading or driving.

 

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