Cataract: What are the risk, factors and prevention!

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

  1. Nuclear sclerosis the most common type of cataract involves the central part of the lens. This eventually becomes hard, due to the deposition of brown pigment in the lens.
  2. Cortical cataracts are due to the outer layer of the lens becoming opaque, resembles the white spokes of a wheel.
  3. Posterior sub-capsular 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
  • The trouble with bright lights
  • Trouble seeing at night.
  • Ocular pain.

CAUSES

  • Aging leads to denaturing of protein in the eye.
  • Trauma can lead to swelling.
  • Sports injuries can lead to cataracts.
  • 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 cataracts.

RISK FACTORS

  • 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

  • Depression
  • Blindness
  • Inflammation of the interior of the eye.
  • The detachment of the retina.
  • The buildup of fluid in the cornea.

DIAGNOSIS

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.

TREATMENT

The only treatment for cataract, is 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.

 

 

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