Cataracts are age-related changes in the lens that are present inside your eye. Most commonly, these are results of ageing and can often cause blurry vision. At this point, the only treatment for cataracts is eye surgery or phacoemulsification.
A cataract develops when the lens in your eye becomes foggy. The word cataract is derived from a Latin word called cataracts which means waterfall.
Usually, our eyes have a transparent lens inside them. This lens focuses light rays onto the retina, the eye's light-sensitive layer. This information passes from the retina to the brain to know what we are seeing.
The lens resides behind the iris (coloured part of your eye). It is made up of protein, and this protein changes with age. As it ages, it may become cloudy, allowing less light to go through the lens. As the amount of light entering the eye reduces, the viewing power diminishes too.
Usually, cataracts develop and progress slowly. In the initial stages of a cataract, the person may not complain of vision difficulties. If they face problems, these are usually corrected by changing glasses or increasing light. However, as the cataract advances, people may struggle to read under dim light. They may also face glare while driving at night and may not see clearly.
Typically, the rays of light pass through the eye's various layers to form an image on the retina. This information then goes to the brain. If the rays cannot reach the retina for some reason, vision will become blurry.
The lens inside the eye is one such layer, and when it becomes foggy or white, it can block the rays of light from passing through. Early cataracts do not cause significant vision loss. Bright lights may still pass through these early cataracts. However, as cataracts become denser, even bright light cannot pass through, which leads to blurred vision.
Following are the common cataract symptoms.
In the initial stages, cataracts do not cause significant vision difficulties. These difficulties are corrected by changing glasses or increasing the room lights. As the cataract advances, vision difficulties begin to increase gradually,
The lens inside our eyes is made up of protein. Tissues in our body change with age, and so do these proteins. Most cataracts develop when ageing changes the tissue that makes up the eye's lens. Proteins and fibres in the lens begin to break down, causing vision to become hazy or cloudy.
Some inherited genetic disorders that cause other health problems can increase your risk of cataracts.
If cataracts occur for reasons other than ageing, they are secondary cataracts.
Depending on the location of the white opacity within the lens, there can be a few types of cataracts. The treatment for each of these remains the same.
In the olden days, a patient who could not see clearly would visit an eye doctor. The eye doctor would say that vision's blurry because of a cataract, but the cataract is not ripe yet, and the patient will have to wait. Your doctor said this was due to the unavailability of technology to remove the cataract before it became mature or hard.
Your doctor can remove the lens inside the eye these days, even before a cataract. Thus the question. When should I get my cataract removed?
In the initial stages, vision may not be much affected. As cataracts advance - vision becomes blurry. Whenever an individual feels that daily activities, such as watching tv, reading newspapers, or driving, are becoming challenging, it might be time to visit an eye doctor. While your cataract may still be early, it may be a good idea to undergo a surgical procedure to get rid of your cataract and maintain your ocular health.
Also, in most cases, the delay does not particularly harm your eyes. However, it keeps you from having clear vision.
Pro Tip: There is no right or wrong decision here. You may choose to get cataract surgery as soon as you have the slightest problem with the quality of your vision, or you may decide to wait. Either way is acceptable. You must remember that the quality of vision will only improve once you get your cataract surgery.
Patients visit their eye doctors when they have vision difficulty. Your eye doctor would perform the following.
Cataracts are treated by a surgical procedure. Here the opaque lens in the eye is removed and replaced by an artificial lens known as the Intraocular lens or IOL. Over the years, there have been significant improvements in the technology available to perform cataract-removal surgery.
In the initial stages of cataract, vision is not significantly impaired. One can do the following:
Modern cataract surgery is far superior. Here a 2 mm incision is made in the eye, and through this incision, the cataract is removed, and the IOL is placed in the eye. The surgery is a daycare procedure without any injections or sutures.
Cataract surgery is the most common eye surgery performed worldwide. Most of the cataract surgeries are performed for age-related cataracts. Many years ago, the surgery performed was known as extracapsular cataract surgery. Here a large incision, up to 5mm, was made, and then after removing the cataract, was sutured.
Book an appointment for a Cataract Operation in Mumbai with Eye Solutions.
There are mainly two types of cataract surgeries.
Phacoemulsification is the more popular type of cataract surgery. More than 90% of cataract surgeries today are done by this method. Here a small 2mm incision is made in the peripheral cornea, and the cataract is extracted by a combination of suction and ultrasound energy. The surgery takes less than 15 min, and while patients may feel that something is going on, they rarely complain of pain.
Femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery or laser cataract surgery is the newer method of performing cataract surgery. However, because there is no significant benefit to the patient, this technique has not gained popularity. There is also a considerable cost involved for the doctor and the patient. Here, instead of a blade, a laser is used to make the 2 mm incision. The cracking of the cataract also is done by the laser. Post the laser procedure, the patient is then shifted to the operation theatre, and standard phacoemulsification is done.
With today's treatment options, patients recover from cataract surgery very quickly. Gone are when patients were asked not to leave home for a month and wear dark glasses for a few weeks to protect the eyes from sunlight.
Most of the time, patients start seeing clearly the same evening of surgery or the next day. The minimum prick or poking they feel also reduces a day or two after surgery. By the 3rd or 4th day, patients forget that they have just undergone surgery.
The drops that patients should use continue for a month after surgery.
The eye is patched after surgery and removed ten minutes later. Sometimes, there is no need for even this patch. The patient is given protective glasses and explained the drops to be used.
The patient may experience blurry vision for most of that day or part of the next day. There may be a slight foreign body sensation in the eye for a day or two.
Usually, by the same evening, patients notice a significant improvement in vision. They typically tell us that everything is very bright, and the colours are very different from what they were used to. They also start seeing the subtitles of their favourite shows on TV. There is no restriction on watching TV or using the phone and computer.
As the days go by, the vision continues to improve. Irritation, watering, and redness, if at all, disappear.
We instruct patients not to let water enter the eye for seven days after surgery. So no head bath allowed. This is to prevent eye infections from occurring. These are known as endophthalmitis.
There are certain dos and don'ts to follow after cataract surgery. This can help prevent eye infections known as endophthalmitis. Endophthalmitis can be blinding if not treated in time. Here are some of the instructions to keep in mind after cataract surgery:
Cataracts occur because of ageing, which is something one cannot control. But we have seen certain factors which hasten or delay the formation of cataracts:
All cataract surgeries involve implanting a lens inside your eye. There are multiple options that one can choose from. Let's divide them into the following three categories:
As the name suggests, these lenses focus on one distance. This distance could be far or near. Usually, the far distance is chosen. This means that after using this lens, one will be able to see the TV clearly without glasses. For reading or computer work, patients will have to wear glasses. If the patient has astigmatism, then these lenses won't render you glass-free. For these patients, Toric lenses are used.
These lenses are used for those who have astigmatism or a cylindrical number. Toric monofocal lenses, when used, will render the patient glass-free vision for far. They will need glasses for reading.
Presbyopia means the need to wear reading glasses. Lenses are available that will make you glass-free for up to 90% of all your daily activities. These lenses could be multifocal or trifocals, or EDOF lenses. Multifocal lenses give you clear vision for far and near meaning, like reading a book. Trifocals give you clear vision for far, reading, and intermediate vision. Intermediate vision is needed to work on a computer. EDOF lenses, known as extended depth of focus lenses, give you clear vision for far and intermediate vision. One would have to wear glasses for reading activities. Some who desire to be glass-free have astigmatism. For them, we use toric lenses, which are available in these presbyopia-correcting lenses.
To give you a clear idea, the cost of cataract surgery starts from Rs 15000 to Rs 140000 per eye. The amount you pay for your cataract surgery can vary greatly. It depends on multiple factors, the most important of which is the lens that you choose. The presbyopia-correcting lenses are more expensive than the monofocal lenses. The cost would also depend on the location of the hospital and the quality of the equipment that is being used. You can read more about it here.
We are focussing more on quality of life these days. It would help if you kept in mind that even though you may have an early cataract, it can still be treated. If your daily activities are hampered, then it may be a wise decision to consider undergoing cataract surgery, a very safe and quick procedure, so that you live independent lives, spend quality time with your grandchildren, and enjoy your travels.
Eye Solutions have one of the top Cataract Specialists in Mumbai. He has 15+ years of diverse experience as an Ophthalmologist/ Eye Surgeon. Dr Deepak Garg and Dr Svetlana Toshniwal are two Cataract Specialists at Eye Solutions. Contact us now to book an appointment for cataract surgery in Mumbai.