A Cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye which leads to a decrease in vision. Cataracts often develop slowly and can affect one or both eyes.
TYPES OF CATARACT
- Nuclear sclerosis the most common type of cataract, involves the central part of the lens. This eventually becomes hard, due to deposition of brown pigment in the lens.
- Cortical cataracts are due to the outer layer of the lens becoming opaque, resembles the white spokes of a wheel.
- Posterior subcapsular cataracts are cloudy, and called such because they are placed in the back of the lens placed in the capsule, of the lens.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
- Faded colors
- Blurry or double vision
- Halos around light
- Trouble with bright lights
- Trouble seeing at night.
- Ocular pain.
- Aging leads to denaturing of protein in the eye.
- Trauma can lead to swelling.
- Sport injuries can lead to cataract.
- Radiation exposure from X-rays or UV lights have shows evidence in causing cataract.
- Genetic factors & chromosome abnormalities are a strong case.
- Cigarette smoking has shown to double the rate of formation of cataracts.
- Inadequate intake of vitamin C
- Medications like topical corticosteroids can contribute to the development of cataract.
- Diabetes mellitus, can lead to diabetic eye & blindness.
- Prolonged exposure to sunlight
- High level of alcohol consumption
- Skin diseases like eczema.
- Wilson’s disease.
- Thyroid hormone fluctuation.
- Retinopathy, death of the cells in the retina
- Retinitis, inflammation of the retina.
- Meningitis, inflammation of the protective covering of the brain.
COMPLICATIONS OF CATARACT
- Inflammation of the interior of the eye.
- Detachment of the retina.
- Buildup of fluid in the cornea.
The diagnosis of cataract is done by an eye examination, usually done by an ophthalmologist.
These are the types of eye exams:
- Visual acuity test: It uses an eye chart to measure how well you can read a series of letters. The ophthalmologist determines if you have signs of impairment.
- Slit-lamp examination: Allows the ophthalmologist to see the tiny structures in the eye by illuminating with an intense light under magnification.
- Retinal exam: The pupils are dilated by the administration of agents called mydriatics like atropine, & the back of the eye, the retina, is observed under illumination.
The only treatment for a cataract, is a cataract surgery.
Cataract surgery involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with a clear artificial lens. The artificial lens, called an intraocular lens, placed in the same positions as the lens is naturally.
PREVENTION & MANAGEMENT OF CATARACT
- Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption.
- Getting a regular eye checkup.
- Avoid direct exposure of sunlight to your eyes.
- Using spectacles.
- Avoiding exposure to dust, vehicular exhaust, etc.
- Taking in more of Vitamin A, carrots, sweet potato, black eyed peas, broccoli.
- Consuming foods rich in Vitamin C, Citrus fruits, tomatoes, kiwi, strawberries, brussel sprouts, potatoes, etc.
- Sources of Vitamin E, sunflower oil, safflower oil, almonds, spinach, peanuts, etc.