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Cataract Treatment

Posted by on Monday, January 25, 2010, 17:04
This news item was posted in Eyes, Ears, Nose & Throat category and has 1 Comment so far.

Cataract formation is the most common eye problem among older people, it is present to some degree in at least 95 percent of those over age 65. A cataract is a clouding of the normally transparent lens which is situated in the eye behind the iris and the pupil .

The lens works on the same principle as the lens of a camera, focusing a picture of what we see on the back of the eye. There the image can be transmitted to, and interpreted by, the brain. After age 40, the lens becomes less elastic and takes on a yellowish color.

These changes interfere with the passage of light through the lens, causing the blurred vision which is the main symptom of a cataract forming. Usually there is neither pain nor other symptoms. At this time, we do not know how to prevent or slow down cataract formation in older people.

The only effective cataract treatment at present is surgical removal, which is successful in 95 to 98 percent of cases. When blurred vision interferes with normal activities, surgery is usually indicated. Sometimes a cataract must be removed because another eye disease is present.

Very early cataracts which do not significantly interfere with vision do not have to be removed but should be examined periodically by an ophthalmologist (eye specialist) or primary health care practitioner. Sophisticated surgical techniques and local anesthesia have made cataract removal increasingly safe and effective, resulting in shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery than in the past.

However, as with any surgery, there are risks of infection, bleeding, and other complications. Fortunately, in cataract surgery such risks are very small. Since the lens of the eye is being removed during this surgery, some other way of focusing light inside the eye is necessary.

The three methods currently for treating cataracts used are glasses, contact lenses, and artificial lens implants (intraocular lenses, or IOL). The glasses used are quite thick and powerful, enlarging the size of objects viewed through them by one third.

If they are used to correct vision in only one eye, they will cause double vision (the normal eye will continue to see objects at normal size). This problem of double vision can be minimized by the use of a contact lens in the affected eye, because a contact lens comes closer to replacing the removed lens.

It is well tolerated by many people, however, not everyone has the dexterity required to insert and remove the lens. This problem has been alleviated somewhat by the recent development of “extended-wear” contact lenses which usually require removal and cleaning only once a month.

The third method, still relatively new and controversial, is the insertion of an artificial plastic lens into the eye. This has the advantage of restoring vision in the affected eye to what it was before the cataract appeared without the distortion of glasses or the bother of contact lenses.

However, the plastic lens is a foreign object in the eye; it may not be well tolerated and may have unknown long term side effects. Artificial lenses are not used in those people who have other eye diseases or who have only one eye.

You should thoroughly discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each of these methods with your ophthalmologist in order to decide which is best for you.

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1 Response to “Cataract Treatment”

  1. 21 December, 2010, 12:12

    Nice Post…

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