Cataract is one of the most common diseases of the eye that affects a sizable section of the world’s population. Although most cataracts appear in patients above 40 years of age, paediatric cataract is not a rare phenomenon either. So what exactly is cataract and how does it affect the eyes? Here’s all the information you’ll need.Cataract - Is it because of your parents, your lifestyle or just bad karma?
Cataract is a disease that affects the lens of the eye. The human lens, like the lens of a camera, focusses light on the retina (the camera film). Typically, the human lens contains soluble proteins and water that are arranged in a specific pattern to give the lens its transparent nature. It is this transparency that enables light to pass through and focus on the retina, to be picked up by the optic nerve to form an image of what you see. As we grow old, the proteins start clumping together and clouding the lens, and this is called Cataract. Besides ageing, cataract can also develop due to exposure to UV rays, injury, prolonged use of certain medications etc.Did you know?
In earlier days, cataract was considered as a wrath of the Gods and seemed to have a direct connection with one’s karma. In fact, there are quite a few African countries that still believe so and engage in age-old and unsafe practices like couching to remove cataract.Cataract symptoms - common signs you just can’t miss
The symptoms of cataract largely depend on the type of cataract that’s developing in the lens. Not all cataracts are alike. While for some people, it develops in the center of the lens others could develop it around the lens’ periphery while few others might have it at the back of their lens. Some of the most common symptoms, however, are blurry/clouded vision, sensitivity to bright light, dull appearance of colours, change in spectacle prescription, etc. In case of paediatric cataract, you’ll find that the kid does not react well to light or colourful objects. If you notice one or more of these symptoms, please visit your eye doctor and get a check-up done immediately.Did you know?
People that develop cataract in the center of their lens often notice a temporary improvement in near vision called second sight, which eventually fades out as the cataract progresses.Cataract prevention - myth or magic?
Prevention of cataract is an arguable subject. While there’s no concrete proof on what could reduce the risk of cataract, there’s no harm in practicing a healthy lifestyle that includes a diet rich in nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids along with some exercise and ample sleep. If not reducing the risk of cataract, there’s a good chance that your quality of life will be greatly improved with these minor inclusions in your routine!Did you know?
Although cataract affects both men and women, the fairer is at greater risk to develop this disease. Is it their complex neurological setup the reason? Well, we know not!Cataract treatment - regain your vision
Cataracts can be easily treated with a simple surgery. After your initial rounds of consultation, you’ll be counselled for surgery depending on the severity of your condition. On the day of surgery, you’ll be prepped and given local anaesthesia. Your eye surgeon will perform a process called phacoemulsification during which the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with a clear man-made focussing lens. These artificial lenses (called as intraocular lens implant, or IOL) remain permanently inside your eye and do not degrade. The entire process takes less than 30 minutes and is absolutely painless.