On lens care and cataract

On lens care and cataract
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Highlights

Just like the lenses of a camera are pivotal and need extra care, our eyes also have lenses which need our attention. 

Just like the lenses of a camera are pivotal and need extra care, our eyes also have lenses which need our attention.

Cataract is an eye defect which occurs when there is a buildup of protein in the eye's natural lens. In simpler terms, it is a clouding (developing opaque areas) of lens in the eyes that affects vision.

It is considered as the most common cause of vision loss among people over the age of 40 and is also the principal cause of blindness in the world.

Mostly these Cataracts are small and do not affect vision but with time and age they grow and interfere with the vision and can even cause blindness.

The most common symptoms of cataract are:

  • Cloudy or blurry vision
  • Colours that appear faded or washed out
  • Sensitivity to light, glare and halos around lights
  • Poor night vision
  • Double vision or multiple images in one eye. (This symptom may clear as the cataract gets larger)

Frequent changes to eyeglass or contact lenses prescriptions

The defect is diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam that includes:

  • Refraction or visual acuity test: this test uses a chart and is performed to measure how well one can see and read the letters written in a series from various distances.
  • Dilated eye exam or retinal examination: Drops are placed in the eyes to widen, or dilate, the pupils to examine the retina.
  • Slit lamp examination: Performed to closely examine the eye's cornea, iris, lens and the space between the iris and cornea, this test helps the doctor to examine the eye in small, detailed sections and makes it easier to spot any abnormality.

In case cataract worsens and vision impairment begins to interfere with routine activities like driving and reading, a cataract surgery is needed.

The surgery is done to remove the natural cataractous lens and replace it with an artificial clear lens called Intra Ocular Lens (IOL). One of the modern techniques called the Micro Incisional Cataract Surgery (MICS) uses a specialised 'Phaco' machine to send a probe through a 1.8 mm incision close to the eye and removes the cataract.

The latest technology for the treatment of cataract is the 'Femtosecond Laser Refractive Cataract Surgery' (FLRCS) that uses a combination of phaco machine and laser machine.

The only true treatment for cataract is surgical removal of the cloudy lens.

By: Dr Kasu Prasad Reddy

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