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All About Cataracts and Cataract Surgery

Jan 16, 2008
It is estimated that over 60 million across the globe have cataracts. It is the main cause of blindness yet it is completely treatable with cataract surgery.

What is a Cataract?

With time the eye's lens becomes opaque and cloudy. As we age, the levels of protein in the eye decline meaning cataracts are not preventable. They can also form due to injuries to the head as well as some diseases.

There are three forms of cataract which affects the eye in different ways. The most common type affects the center of the eye (the nucleus). Cortical cataract plus subcapsular cataract are most common in people who suffer from diabetes.

Symptoms of Cataract

The main symptoms of cataract is impaired, blurry or cloudy vision. Problems with nearsightedness can become worse and images can turn distorted. More subtle symptoms include: requiring more light than normal when reading, problems seeing at night, sensitivity to light, colors fading and double vision. The cloudiness of the lens prevents light refracting properly, causing the symptoms of cataracts.

Who is at risk?

None of us are immune to cataracts and the likelihood of developing them only increases with age. If people in your family have developed them there is a greater chance of you developing them too.

Some medication including steroids can increase you chances along with eye surgery and eye injury. Diabetics will are also at increased risk.

Early detection/treatment

The best way to detect problems is by having regular eye examinations. There are many things that can cause blurry vision so make sure you get properly checked out.

In times gone by, cataract surgery was a painful procedure to go through. Luckily things have changed a lot and it simply involves the replacement of the old lens with an intraocular lens (IOL). Success rate is extremely high also.

It is only recommended that you undergo treatment when it interferes with your quality of life. For those experiencing early symptoms, prescription eyeglasses are all that's required. However an ophthalmologist will be able to decide at which stage you'll need surgery.

Unfortunately if you do have cataract there may be other factors involved which means surgery cannot restore vision. Only ophthalmologist can determine this.

Compared to many other types of surgery, cataract surgery goes very smoothly. 95% of patients experience no complications whatsoever. Local anaesthesia, tiny instruments and a microscope are normally all that's required to carry out a successful cataract surgery.
About the Author
April has written a number of articles about eye care including cataract surgery, dry eye syndrome and LASIK eye surgery.
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