By Dr. Roopali Nerlikar, Ophthalmology
Cataracts occur when there is a protein build up in the natural lens of the eye, leading to clouding of sight.
Causes of Cataract -
The lens protein becomes clumped and opacified and alters the transmission of light into the eye. It may scatter light causing glare and multiple images, especially at night. It may just block rays causing impaired contrast and need for increased light to read. Ageing, uncontrolled diabetes, exposure of the eye to toxic substances or radiation and long term use of steroid medicines are some reasons for the development of cataract.
Symptoms of Cataract -
Cataracts do not produce symptoms during the early stages; they develop slowly and ultimately manifest themselves in the reduction of vision. Still, there are some symptoms that mark the progression of cataracts and they are:
1. Cloudy or foggy vision
2. Progressive near sightedness of vision in older patients at the expense of their distance vision, which gets worse
3. Noticeable changes in the way you see colour
4. Oncoming lights produce glare and this creates problems with your vision at night
5. You find yourself suffering from double vision when looking at light sources like bulbs or the moon
Treatment of Cataract -
There are usually two ways of treating cataracts:
1. Contacts or Eyeglasses - In some cases, your vision can be restored by updating your spectacle power, which your physician will prescribe if the cataract is mild
If eyeglasses cannot restore your vision, then you will need cataract surgery. The surgeon will remove the natural lens in the eye which has the cataract and replace it with an artificial, clear lens restoring vision