Cataracts: A Condition That Can Likely Affect More Than Half The American Population
A cataract is a disease whereby the lens in the eyes is clouded. Cataracts grow slowly over time, and they eventually interfere with vision, and most people do not notice the effects until they are older.
Cataracts form on the lens, which is the clear part of the eye. When light passes through the lens, it produces clear images on the retina, which is a membrane where visual images are formed with passage of light. The lenses become less transparent and thicker as you age — the tissues in the lens clump together, resulting in clouding on the lens. When clouding is dense, it covers more of the lens which blocks the light that passes through the lens, thereby preventing a clear image from reaching the retina, which results in blurred vision.
They are four types of cataracts that affect the eye, and they are nuclear cataracts, cortical cataracts, posterior subcapsular cataracts, and congenital cataracts.
Nuclear cataracts may affect the area in the middle of the lens. A nuclear cataract can cause increase nearsightedness, or it can be temporary improve reading vision. However, the lens can gradually turn densely yellow and eventually brown to further clouds vision. Progressive browning or yellowing can cause difficulties, such as identifying shades of color.
Cortical cataracts can affect the area around the outer surface of the lens. Cortical cataracts are specks around the outer surface of the lens. As the cataract increase in size, the speck can extend to the center of the lens, and it can interfere with the light that passes through the center of the lens.
Posterior subcapsular cataracts can affect the surface on the back of the lens. This type of cataract begins as a small speck the eventually grow big enough to obstruct the light. It often reduces vision in sunlight or bright light interferes with reading, and causes glare at night.
Congenital cataracts are inherited, or they may be associated with a trauma or infection. Congenital cataracts may also be due to galactosemia, myotonic dystrophy, rubella or neurofibromatosis type 2.
Causes and Symptoms
Aging and eye injuries are the primary causes of cataracts. However, some inherited genetic disorders can increase the chances of getting cataracts. Some causes include diabetes and past eye surgeries. Besides age, some symptoms of cataracts include blurred, cloudy and dim vision, poor night vision and browning or yellowing of colors. If these symptoms persist, a visit to an eye doctor may be required.
Eyeglasses and sunglasses can help with cataract treatment in Michigan. If there are symptoms such as double vision, eye pain, flashes of light, headache, medical help is recommended. Doctors normally recommend surgery, if blurred or poor vision interferes with normal activities, such as reading or driving at night.
With cataract surgery, the doctor removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with an artificial lens, which is called an intraocular lens (IOL), to restore clear vision. The procedure may be performed on an outpatient basis, and it does not require an overnight stay. The physician breaks up the cloudy lens into small pieces with an ultrasound device and gently remove the remnants from the eye. This procedure is called phacoemulsification, and it can be performed with smaller incisions, which promote faster healing, and it reduces the risk of retinal detachment or other complications. Once the cloudy lens has been removed from the eye, the surgeon can insert the intraocular lens. The surgeon closes the incision and places a protective shield over the eye to keep it safe.
Laser Cataract Surgery
With laser surgery, incisions are made in the corneal with lasers. Studies have shown that lasers can improve the accuracy of cataract surgery, and it can eliminate the need for hand-held tools and surgical blades.