ADVERTORIAL - All about cataract

2016-01-27 06:00
Photo: supplied  Top image: Clear lens, light passing through, forming a clear image on the retina. Bottom image: Cloudy lens (cataract) scattering light, unable to form a clear image on the retina.

Photo: supplied Top image: Clear lens, light passing through, forming a clear image on the retina. Bottom image: Cloudy lens (cataract) scattering light, unable to form a clear image on the retina.

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What is a cataract?

It is a common condition, usually in older people, where the normal clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy and affects vision. With the development of cataracts, the affected lens becomes like frosted glass.It is no longer clear and therefore difficult to see through.

How do we see?

When we look at an object, light from the object passes through the clear cornea and the lens, until it hits the retina at the back of the eye.

The lens of the eye acts like a camera, it helps to focus the light coming through the eye on to the retina (it is like the film in a camera). The retina, receives the light and helps process it into what we see. With a cataract, the lens can no longer sharply focus the light onto the retina, this light is scattered and causes the symptoms associated with cataract.

How does a cataract form:

The lens consists of particles (protein) and water. With the normal ageing processes, the lens proteins clump together and make the lens cloudy (cataract). Also with sun exposure through ones lifetime, it causes the lens to change colour from clear to a brownish tinge, which affects colour vision (makes the world around you look more brown). The above results in a decrease in vision.

The severity of the cataract depends on the area of the lens involved and the percentage of the lens involved.

Signs and symptoms include gradual decrease in vision,double vision, glare, halos, decreased night vision, particularly during driving at night.

Majority of cataracts are associated with old age, the older you are the more likely you are of developing a cataract. Other causes include, persons with diabetes who are at an increased risk,steroid use (tablets: prednisone, eye drops containing steroids), history of trauma to the eye and it can be present at birth.

Who requires treatment

When the cataract begins to affect ones ability to function normally at work or home.

What can be done

Visit your ophthalmologist, to decide if the cataract is the cause of your decline in vision. If correctable with glasses, no further intervention is needed. However if still symptomatic with glasses, or uncorrected with glasses you will require a cataract operation.

This operation entails, removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial clear lens that will restore your vision. - Supplied

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