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What is Cataract ?

Cataract is an eye abnormality and happens when there is Clouding of the internal lens of the eye, usually without any associated pain or discomfort. Cataract blocks light from passing through the lens of your eye thus making it difficult to see clearly and in worst cases may well cause blindness over time. Cataract is generally progressive, meaning, they worsen with time. As a rule of thumb, they occur in older people, but in certain cases even relatively young people may counter a cataract for a variety of reasons as enunciated here.

Medically speaking, a person can develop cataract when protein builds up in the lens of your eye and makes it cloudy. This prevents light from passing through clearly and can cause you to lose partial eyesight. It is not precisely known as to why people get cataract however some of the known causes of cataract are:

  • Age borne: Cataract forms as you get older.
  • Congenital: This is cataract by birth. And could happen in babies because of infection, injury, or poor development in the womb.
  • Secondary: These happen as a result of other medical conditions, like diabetes.
  • Traumatic: Cataracts after an injury to the eye.

If you have any or more following issues in your normal vision, you may well need a check-up with your eye specialist. Do remember that is the most reliable way of detecting cataract as they usually aren’t painful. The most common symptoms are:

  • It gets hard to see at night.
  • Your Eyes get sensitive to light.
  • Light sources appear encircled "halos".
  • Blurred vision. Things appear overlapping (double vision).
  • Colors don’t look as bright or saturated as they used to.
Other things that can raise your chances of getting cataracts include cigarette smoke, air pollution, and protracted heavy drinking

Cataracts don’t give you a sudden loss of vision. Usually it is gradual, unnoticed and slow. It is only when it becomes dense or larger; your vision gets more and more blurry; that can make it hard to perform everyday tasks. Thus see a doctor periodically.

Detecting cataracts is exclusively the job of the eye specialist and it is they you should consult upon any suspicion of a potential cataract (symptom). You will undergo a certain range of tests besides your eye specialist will also dilate your pupil to check the lens and other parts of the eye. Remember to bring your glasses or contacts to the appointment.

Cataracts could be treated either by Glasses/ Contact lenses or by cataract surgery.

Need of a Surgery to remove cataracts may arise only if your vision loss cannot be corrected with special glasses or contact lenses. The surgical procedure involves removing the cloudy natural lens and replacing it with a quality artificial lens. The operation is usually done on an outpatient basis and a patient can go home the very same day. The procedure, if done by specialist, is very safe and effective. More than 95% of people who undergo such surgeries are satisfied with their vision improvements. In cases where you need surgery on both eyes, the surgery is usually done on one eye at a time. It takes about 8 weeks for the eye to completely heal post-surgery with prescribed glasses and eye drops.

Lower your risk of getting cataracts; if you:

  • Avoid /reduce your smoking habits
  • Opt to wear a hat or alternatively sunglasses in the sun
  • Manage diabetes well
  • Reduce alcohol consumption habits
  • Avoid Extended use of corticosteroids

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