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Health > Eye Diseases >Cataract


Cataracts lead to poor vision and blindness, but in most cases can be easily remedied by a fairly minor operation. For most people, Cataracts are emergency bells that ring in each one’s lives, hinting that they need to complete their duties in the world and get ready to face that last lap of their lives.

Cataract Symptoms

When you develop a cataract in your eye, your vision slowly becomes more and more misty. You may see haloes around lights, and may find vision worse in bright sunlight. As dazzled as you might be in more easily by bright lights, you might also notice that your color vision may not be as good as it was initially. Of course there is not way really that you might want to change the situation as it is inevitable, there are means to push it even further.

Prevention is the best option for your eyes as it is not possible to correct the problems caused by cataracts by just getting a new pair of spectacles. In fact, the first you know about it may well be when the optician tells you that you have cataracts when you go for a routine eye test.

Causes of Cataract

Most cataracts are caused by ageing of the eye. Like the degeneration of a machine, the body also starts giving way with age and time. It is said that some degree of cataract commences its tour in all of us if we are destined to live long enough. Typically, though, this may be noticed from 50-60 years and onwards. Certain other conditions of the eye that cause inflammation and eye injury might lead to cataracts occurring earlier in life. There are still other conditions that affect your system as a whole for e.g. diabetes, that are linked with a higher risk of developing a cataract. Certain drugs, including steroids, if not administered accurately may make you more likely to develop cataracts early.

Excessive exposure to the sun as well as to radiation increases the risks of developing cataracts. Smoking and alcohol add fuel to the fire. There are some rare conditions leading babies to be born with cataracts. If this occurs it is very important that it gets detected early for the baby to get rid of the cloudy lens as the development of normal vision relies on the eye being able to see in the early months and years.

Diagnosing Cataract

Cataract is usually diagnosed by your doctor or optometrist, although other professionals my well point this condition out to you. They will usually use a hand held torch with a lens (ophthalmoscope) or at times an even more elaborate apparatus called a slit-lamp for examining your eyes. The lens, which starts off as clear at birth; may have areas that are cloudy or may even be generally milky in appearance. Sometimes the cataract makes it difficult to see the back of the eye properly. It is important to note that your doctor needs to arrange for you to see a specialist (usually the ophthalmologist), if he doesn’t then you can be sure that you are not in safe hands.

Cataract Treatment and Removal

The only effective treatment for cataracts is to remove the cloudy lens. This is not done with a laser, but by a tiny probe that goes into the eye and dissolves the lens using very fast sound waves (ultrasound), a process known as phacoemulsification. Usually a tiny plastic lens is put in to the place where the natural lens was at the same procedure. The whole process, thanks to technology today is very quick, often taking only 15-20 minutes.

Cataract Eye Surgery and Complications

Most times the Cataract operation is done while you are awake, with local anesthetic. In fact, even the most nervous of people seem to find this very easy to go through. It’s best to mutually discuss the possible complications with your specialist before you undergo the operation. The most common complication, which occurs in up to one person in five within two years of the Cataract operation, is for the posterior layer of the clear pocket, which rests the lens lies becomes cloudy. This is dealt today with laser treatment that completely removes this cloudy layer. You will have eye drops given to you to use after the operation. These contain a steroid to reduce inflammation, and an antibiotic to prevent infection getting in to the eye.

Cataract Prevention

The Khejara tree found in most part of Rajasthan, India has leaves that are endowed with a fluid, which when cleaned and purified can be used as eye drops. These drops are also known as "Khakra" in the Indian local language and can primarily act as an anti-ageing agent by preventing the formation of cataract. Of course you can not stop yourself getting cataracts by any specific changes to your lifestyle, but it does make sense to try to reduce the risk factors.

Probably the most important of these that are known are:

* If you smoke, stop smoking.

* Avoid bright sunlight, wearing broad brimmed / peaked headwear and using sunglasses which cut out UVA and UVB.

The eyes are the mirror to your soul, its best if you keep them as transparent as possible!

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