Cataract is the most common degenerative and naturally developing age related eye disorder. Cataract can occur in either or both eyes but cannot spread from one eye to theĀ other. It usually occurs after the age of 60 when the lens in the eye gradually becomes cloudy or opaque leading to vision disturbances. This happens because of the degeneration of lens and it loses its naturally crystalline nature. Due to this, the passage of light in the eye is partially/totally blocked. The person is unable to focus properly and complains of blurred images and inability to see objects clearly.
It is important to regularly visit an ophthalmologist for comprehensive eye examination at least once every year. This should be done by every individual above 40 years of age to keep a track of age related changes occurring in eye.
In addition to age, there are some other reasons that can also lead to cataract:

  • Excessive exposure to UV (sunlight, tanning rooms, or sunlamps) & ionizing radiation (like X-rays or cancer RT)
  • Diseases like Diabetes, Hypertension or Obesity
  • Active smoking
  • Excessive drinking of alcohol
  • Previous eye injury or surgery (glaucoma or vitrectomy) or inflammation
  • High myopia
  • Long term and high dose use of corticosteroid & statin medications
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Eye diseases like glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, retinal detachment, or long-term uveitis
  • Genetic
  • Congenital

All these contribute to the formation of the opacity in human eye lens. But development of cataract is a very slow process and remains undetectable till the time significant vision loss occurs. The most common and alarming symptoms of cataract include the following:

  • Blurred/misty/dim/fuzzy vision
  • Double vision from the affected eye
  • Increasing trouble with vision especially during night because of glare from car headlights
  • Recurrent need of stronger eyeglass or contact lens number
  • High sensitivity to bright light and glare of sun or lamp
  • Seeing “halos” everywhere
  • Fading or yellowing of colors
  • Improved near vision for a short time (second sight)
  • In some rare cases, blindness

Treatment of cataract

Surgery (either Small Incision Cataract Surgery or Phacoemulsification) is the most effective and successful treatment of cataract. It is done to remove and replace the opaque lens with any of the following lens depending upon the need of the patient:

  • Monofocal IOL
  • Toric IOL
  • Multifocal IOL
  • Accommodating IOL