Cataract

The eye is the sensory organ that is most rapidly affected by the aging process. The sense of sight can be affected by age, as well as by some physical and natural changes. As a result, the pupil, called the pupil, which allows light to fall on the retina, becomes smaller. Adaptation to light slows down and vision difficulties are observed in dim light. As the lens of the eye loses its flexibility, the problem of near-sightedness begins. Keratoconjunctivitis or dry eyes may occur. In dry eye, tear volume and function decrease, and the person complains of complaints such as blurred vision, redness and burning.

Another age-related eye problem is cataract. In cataract, the adaptability of the lens, which changes in weight and thickness, decreases with age. New fibre layers’ form around the lens. This compresses and hardens the lens core. In this process, in which the lens core proteins undergo chemical changes, brown and yellow discolorations occur on the lens. Cataract is the most common cause of visual impairment due to aging. It is the most common cause of blindness in the world and the only treatment is the removal of the cloudy lens by operation and replacing it with an artificial lens.

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What is a cataract?

Cataract is a disease often classified by age. Congenital cataract is called congenital cataract, and the type that occurs with age is called senile cataract. It is a disease that occurs with the formation of blurry parts on the lens, which is located inside the eye, which does not contain nerves and vessels, loss of its transparency, brown and yellow discolorations, resulting in a decrease in the sense of vision.

Although cataracts can appear in both or only one eye, most often one eye is more affected than the other. The lens, which is transparent under normal conditions, transmits light to the back of the eye, allowing the sense of sight to work clearly.

However, if part of the lens becomes cloudy, the light cannot penetrate enough and vision is affected. In untreated cases, the blurred areas enlarge and increase in number. As the blur increases, the vision is affected more and makes the person unable to do their daily work.

Cataract, which develops with a rate of 90% due to age, may occur in new born babies as a result of systemic diseases, some eye diseases, drug use, traumas or congenitally in some cases. Congenital cataract should be operated quickly if it completely closes the baby’s pupil.

Since the physical development of the eye is not fully completed in babies under the age of 3, lens implantation is not performed during the operation. Although it is known that senile cataract, which develops due to aging, is genetically inherited at a rate of 50%, the gene causing this condition has not been identified yet.

Therefore, it is important for individuals aged 40 and over to have a detailed eye examination at intervals of 2 to 4 years. 1 to 3 years after age 55; After the age of 65, it is recommended that they be examined by a specialist physician every 1-2 years.

What are the symptoms of cataract?

Symptoms usually appear with advancing age. It may not show any symptoms in the initial period. The clouding of the lens of the eye increases day by day and this is noticed by other people. Commonly, the vision is unclear, blurry, smoky and hazy. In some cases, spots may appear in areas where vision is not clear; In cases where the light is too much or insufficient, vision may deteriorate more. Cataracts can cause colors to become paler and less sharp. Reading newspapers and books, watching television, driving a vehicle becomes more difficult. Rarely, double vision may occur, or a halo may appear around strong light sources in the dark, such as a streetlight or vehicle headlight.

Some other symptoms are:

  • Inability to see far and near
  • Complaints about light and glare
  • Deterioration of vision on sunny days
  • blurred vision
  • Difficult and pale perception of colors
  • Eyestrain and headache
  • Frequent change of glasses number
  • Decreased need for glasses
  • Better near vision without glasses
  • Decreased night vision
  • Loss of sense of depth
What are the causes of cataract?

Chemical changes and proteolytic decompositions occur in proteins called crystalline, which form the lens of the eye, located behind the colored part of the eye called the iris. As a result, high molecular weight protein aggregates form and foggy, blotchy, blurred vision occurs. These clusters increase over time, creating a curtain that prevents light from entering the lens in the eye and reduces eye transparency. It creates additions in the eye. These clusters prevent the light from scattering, preventing the image from falling on the retina.

However, the presence of a family history of cataracts can also be caused by many conditions such as different health problems and diseases, genetic disorders, eye surgeries, long-term exposure of the eyes to sunlight, diabetes, long-term use of steroid drugs, eye traumas and uveitis-like eye diseases.

How is cataract treated?

Firstly, an eye examination is performed with an ophthalmoscope by ophthalmologist. The ophthalmoscope is a device that allows the physician to see the inside of the eye in detail with an intense light. In this way, it is understood how much the eye lens is affected. In some cases, even if the patient has no complaints, cataracts can be detected with this method during routine eye examination.

The presence of cataract is understood with this method and the patient is informed about the treatment process. Cataracts cannot be prevented or treated with diet or medication. The only option is surgical intervention.

The indication for surgery is based on the patient’s visual level and complaints. However, in the early stages of cataract, complaints that occur during daily work with the use of glasses can be temporarily eliminated. However, in advanced cataract cases, surgery is the only option.

How is cataract surgery performed?

Cataract surgery is performed easily and quickly with the developing technology. The eye area is usually numbed with local anesthesia.  2 to 3 mm. small tunnel incision is made, such as a tunnel incision, and the lens, which is blurred by the phacoemulsification technique, is broken up with ultrasonic vibrations and removed. Then, vision is improved by placing a high quality artificial monofocal or multifocal lens into the eye. Since the lens inserted in the cataract operation also eliminates other visual defects, patients can see far and near without glasses. The operation takes about half an hour, and then it is recommended to use eye drops for 3 to 4 weeks.

There is no need for hospitalization after cataract surgery. If cataracts are present in both eyes, surgeries are performed at intervals recommended by the physician. Both eyes cannot be intervened at the same time. Although there are some restrictions after the surgery, patients can use their eyes from the first day.

How to prevent cataract?

The lens located behind the iris focuses the light entering the eye, ensuring sharp and clear vision. With age, the lens in the eye thickens and loses its flexibility. With the loss of flexibility, problems of focusing near and far are seen. As a result of the deterioration of the tissues in the lens and the accumulation of protein, stains occur on the lens and this prevents the light from scattering. Thus, the image cannot reach the retina and the sense of sight is impaired and even problems such as not being able to see completely may occur. It is not possible to completely prevent cataract formation. However, the risks of contracting the disease can be reduced by:

  • Protecting the eyes from sunlight and not looking directly at the sun
  • Quit smoking
  • Healthy and balanced diet
  • Keeping diabetes under control

For a healthy life, do not forget to have your check-ups at regular intervals.

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