What is a Cataract?

Any opacity in the lens within the eye whether congenital or acquired is called “Cataract”.The commonest cataracts are the acquired ones especially “Senile cataracts”, where due to sheer age the lens begins to degenerate, the semi permeability of the lens capsule becomes impaired and the lens becomes opaque. Senile cataract is rare below the age of fifty years unless associated with diabetes.

It is almost universal to some degree in persons over seventy. It occurs equally in men and women and usually affects both eyes although one eye may develop it earlier than the other eye. The term ‘Cataract’ actually means a waterfall, and refers to the opacity of the crystalline lens of the eye on the assumption that the condition is caused by the humor of the brain falling over the pupil. The crystalline lens, through which light travels into the interior of the eye, is situated just behind the iris, or colored portion of the eye.

Symptom of Cataract

The first sign of a cataract is blurred vision. The patient with Cataract finds it difficult to see things in focus. As the cataract progresses, the patient may get double vision or spots or both. There is a gradual increase in blindness. At first, vision in twilight may be better than in full daylight since light is admitted round the more widely-dilated pupil in the dark. In the advanced stage, objects and persons may appear merely blobs of light. In the final stage of Cataract, the symptom shows that there is a grayish-white discoloration in the pupil.

Causes of Cataract

A cataract is often found in association with other defects of the eye. There are four factors that contribute to the loss of transparency of the lens. These are

  1. stagnation of the fluid current in the lens resulting from blood condition ;
  2. deterioration in the nutrition of the lens which diminishes the vitality and resistance of the delicate lens fibres ;
  3. deposits between the lens fibres of acids and salts which have an irritating effect on the lens tissues and exert increasing pressure on its delicate fibres,
  4. a clouding the whole lens in the absence of appropriate measures.

Treatment and Cure of Cataract

A cataract is one of the most stubborn conditions to deal with, if it has become deep-seated, nothing short of a surgical operation will help in overcoming the trouble. If, however, the cataract is in the early stages, there are good chances of getting over the ailment by natural means. Even advanced cases can be prevented from becoming worse.

Clinical Features of Cataract

1. Appearance of spots before the eyes.
2. Doubling or trebling of objects seen with the eye due to the irregular refraction by the lens so that several images are formed of each object.
3. Coloured halos may be seen.
4. Deterioration in the acuity of vision.

Treatment

Lens replacement also known as Intra Ocular Lens implants.

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