Overview – What is it?
Cataract is the clouding of the normally clear cells in the eye which can lead to blindness if untreated. In most cases it occurs as a result of ageing.
Some of the symptoms one can experience due to cataracts are blurry vision, sensitivity to light and having difficulty seeing at night.
This condition can be diagnosed through retinal examination, visual acuity and split-lamp examination.
It can be treated or corrected through surgery and prevented by not smoking, reducing alcohol intake and eating healthy among other ways.
Causes – What causes it?
The major cause of cataracts is ageing and eye injury which can change the tissue that makes up the eye lens.
Risk factors for genital warts are:
- Smoking and excessive alcohol intake
- Certain health conditions like hypertension and diabetes which can also increase the risk of cataracts
- Obesity and overweightness
- Previous inflammation or injury to the eye
- Prolonged use of corticosteroid medication
- Excessive exposure to sunlight
Symptoms – What do you feel?
In the early stages of cataracts, one may not realise any symptoms, however, as the condition advances, the following symptoms may be experienced:
- Clouded or blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Difficulty with vision at night
- Needing brighter light to read and for other activities
- Double vision in a single eye
- Frequent change in eye glasses or contact lenses
- Fading or yellowing of vision
Diagnosis – How do you diagnose it?
- Initial consultation: The diagnosis for cataracts begins with discussing with a doctor your medical history and having an eye exam done. After this, other tests can be done. These include:
- Slit-lamp examination: Allows the doctor to look at the structures at the front of the eye in small sections under magnification.
- Visual acuity test: Uses an eye chart to test how well a person can read; one eye at a time.
- Retinal exam: This test uses a slit lamp or an ophthalmoscope after eye drops are put in the eye to open the pupils wide and enable easier examination of the retina to determine whether you have any cataract signs.
Treatment – How do you treat it?
The treatment of cataracts depends on its severity. It can be done through:
- Glasses: When the cataracts are in the early stages, stronger glasses and brighter lights can be used to correct the condition by improving vision.
- Surgery: This is necessary especially if the cataracts cannot be corrected through wearing glasses and if the cataracts make it difficult to carry out everyday tasks. The surgery is done to remove the clouded lens and replace it with a clear artificial lens known as an intraocular lens.
Prevention – How do you prevent it?
There is no specific way to prevent cataracts, however, you can reduce your risk of developing the condition by:
- Not smoking
- Limiting alcohol intake
- Maintaining a healthy diet by eating more fruits and vegetables
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Wearing glasses that protect your eyes from ultraviolet light
- Managing health condition such as diabetes and high blood pressure which raise the risk of cataracts
- Getting regular eye examinations