You are getting older and you notice your vision changing. Images seem to be blurred and unclear. Of course, you are not happy about it and you are a little scared. What if you lose sight of the world? You wonder if you are suffering from cataract. In this article, we will discuss this condition and know how we can avoid it.
1 What are cataract and its causes?
Cataract is a progressive, painless clouding of the eye, particularly affecting its lens. It is a condition where the eyes become opaque and vision becomes impaired over a period of time. It occurs when there is a build up of protein in the lens making it cloudy and is related to getting old. On the average, 65% of older people suffer from cataract. Due to cataracts, it becomes difficult to read, write, drive, and see.
2 Signs and symptoms of cataract
Cataract develops slowly. Initially, it affects only a small part of the lens and you may be unaware of its existence. Later, when the cataract grows, it distorts the light passing through the lens leading to an unclear and blurred vision.
Checklist of symptoms:
- Vision that is dim, unclear, shattered, foggy, or clouded.
- Progressive nearsightedness in older people, called as “second sight.”
- Difficulty in identifying colors.
- Feeling of sensitivity to light or darkness.
- Having double vision.
3 Types of cataract
Age-related cataract: The name tells it all. This type develops as a result of aging.
Congenital cataract: Some children are born with cataracts as a result of injury, infection, or poor development.
Secondary cataract: This occurs in people who are regularly exposed to certain drugs, toxins, radiation, or as a complication in people with medical conditions like diabetes.
Traumatic cataract: This may be a result of some injury that occurred recently or in the past.
4 How is cataract diagnosed and treated?
Diagnosis involves a few steps:
The doctor asks you to read an eye chart
The patient is asked to read a chart mounted on the wall containing different letters in various sizes. This helps the doctor assess the patient’s vision.
Slit lamp examination
The microscope the doctor uses for this examination is called the slit lamp. It uses an intense line of light to illuminate the cornea, iris, lens, and the spaces between and around them. This procedure helps doctors to detect any tiny abnormalities.
Dilating the eye (Retina Examination)
The doctor dilates the pupil to open it wide, enabling examination of the back of the eyes.
5 Treatment of cataract
If the vision can still be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses, they can be prescribed. But if the vision distracts the patient’s day-to-day life, then surgery would be recommended. It is one of the most-performed surgeries and 90% of the people have improved their vision after the surgery.
6 What happens during the surgery?
Cataract surgery involves removing of the clouded lens and its replacement with clear artificial lens. The artificial lens is called an intraocular lens and remains as permanent part of the eye. During the surgery, local anesthesia is used to numb the area; however, patient stays awake during the operation. Cataract operation is an outpatient basis, which means the patient need not to stay in the hospital after the surgery.
For some people, other problems prohibit the use of artificial lens. In such situations, the cataract is removed and eyeglasses or contact lenses are recommended.
This surgery is risk-free; however, it can have complications such as an infection, dislocation of the lens, retinal detachment, and hemorrhage. Modern technology, however, states this surgery as a safe procedure. If both eyes have cataracts, they require surgery. Nevertheless, surgery is performed one eye at a time with a gap of 4-8 months.
7 Natural ways to cure cataract
All you have to do is to add 2-3 garlic cloves to your meal every day. The garlic cleanses the cloudy eye and helps make it clear. In addition to that, garlic has many other health benefits.
Spinach is full of antioxidants and beta-carotene, helping reverse the effect of cataract. Incorporation of spinach in meals helps in the prevention and eradication of cataract.
Take a pot and sow a handful of wheat seeds. Water it daily and when the grass has grown 7-9 inches long, cut them and make a juice out of it. Drink it for 4 to 5 months continuously. This is a tested and proven method to clear the cloudiness.
It is an enzyme found in papaya, which helps in protein digestion. Many patients who have cataracts find it difficult to digest protein, thus, taking papain as a supplement helps in preventing the progression of cataract.
Bilberries are boon when it comes to eye treatment. They are rich in anthocyanosides and these flavonoids protect the lens and the retina of the eyes from oxidation damage.
Eating foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins E and C helps in preventing the effects of cataract.
8 Prevention of cataracts
Have a regular eye examination
Regular eye check up helps detect the problem at the earliest stage possible, thus, treatments can also be done the best ways possible.
Quit smoking and alcohol
If you are addicted to smoking and alcohol, find ways to stop or control it as it aids in the speedy progression of the disease.
Maintain a healthy weight
Choose a healthy diet and maintain an ideal weight as much as possible, because obesity increases the risk of cataract.
Wear sunglasses and wide brimmed hats
The first cataract prevention is to wear sunglasses and wide brimmed hats, which helps in prohibiting ultraviolet rays and heavy sunrays to penetrate the eyes directly. Parents must encourage children to wear sunglasses and hat when they move out of house.