Optics 101

Cataract - Definition, Detection and Treatments of Cataract

Definition of Cataract

Cataract is a medical condition in which the lens in the eye becomes clouded. This condition occurs as we get old, which makes it a lot harder to see. Cataract is a condition in which it cannot spread from one eye to another, however, it can occur in either or in both eyes.

Initially, cataract has very little effect on the vision, but as time progresses, the vision becomes blurred or cloudy. Colors also seem faded or they are not as bright as before. Cataract can also make sunlight, lamps, and headlights during driving appears too bright or glaring. This is especially the case when driving at night. The type and the severity of the cataract determine when and which symptoms that an individual will encounter.

Detection of Cataract

A comprehensive eye examination is used to detect cataract. These examinations will include a visual test. This is carried out using an eye chart test, which measures your ability to see at different distances. The second examination procedure is known as a dilated eye exam. Special drops are placed in your eye to dilate the pupils in order to examine the retina and any signs of damage to the optic nerve and other eye problems. The final examination procedure measures the pressure inside the eye. This is referred to as tonometry. Depending on the situation, the eye may be subjected to numbing drops before carrying out the test.

Treatments of Cataract

As symptoms of early cataract appear, new glasses, magnification, brighter lighting, and other visual aids may be able to improve your vision for a short period of time. If the cataract has progressed enough to cause the vision to be seriously impaired and interferes with your everyday activities, then surgery is the only effective treatment.

Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is a simple and relatively painless procedure to gain back vision. They are the most common cause of treatable blindness worldwide. Surgery involves the removal of the cloudy lens and replacement of the eye¡¦s natural lens with an artificial lens. The surgical procedure will be performed on each eye separately, usually four to eight weeks apart.

The artificial lens is a clear plastic intraocular lens. New intraocular lens are developed all the time to make the lens more helpful to patients and making the surgical procedure less difficult for the surgeons.

Most cataract procedure is carried out using a technique commonly referred to as phacoemulsification. A small incision is made on the side of the cornea. Then an ultrasound-driven probe is inserted into the cornea and "sonically" breaks up the cataract so that it can be removed by suction.

Most incisions used for cataract surgery are self-sealing. However, on occasion, incisions may need to be stitched, and the stitches are rarely required to be removed.

Occasionally the eye tissue that surrounds the intraocular lens becomes cloudy and can blur the vision. . This cloudiness is called a posterior capsular opacity, which occur after a cataract surgery. A simple laser procedure that uses a high-energy YAG laser is used to clear up the cloudiness. This procedure is painless and simple and rarely causes an increase in eye pressure or other eye problems.

It is worthy to mention that lasers are not currently used for the removal of cataract. This may be possible in future, as research is ongoing.

Source: AZoOptics

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