Cataracts are a painless area of clouding of the lens of the eye..
Cataract blocks the normal transmission of light rays to the retina.
Nerve cells in the retina perceive light signals very subtly, due to which the brain forms a “picture” of what a person sees.
When light transmission through the lens is impaired, vision problems occur.
1. Age. As you age, the risk of cataracts increases significantly (so-called senile cataracts).
2. Exposure to ultraviolet rays (UVB), such as the sun and tanning beds, significantly increase the risk of cataracts.
3. Uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, in which the blood sugar level is higher than permissible, leads to serious changes in the eye, including cataracts.
4. Eye diseases, such as glaucoma, chronic uveitis (inflammation of the choroid) and others. This is due not only to the diseases themselves, but also to the treatment of these diseases - some operations with glaucoma increase the risk of developing cataracts.
5. Vitrectomy. People older than 50 who have had the vitreous removed from their eyes (vitrectomy) are at high risk for developing cataracts. Removal of the vitreous body can be carried out, for example, during operations for retinal detachment.
6. Family history of cataracts. People with a genetic predisposition have a significantly increased risk of developing cataracts. Some genetic diseases are also associated with cataracts..
8. Frequent x-ray examination of the head or radiation therapy for cancer (with radiation to the head).
9. Eye damage. Although cataracts caused by eye injuries are generally rare, this is a leading cause of the disease in children..
10. Smoking can damage the lens of the eye due to the formation of aggressive compounds - free radicals. High levels of free radicals adversely affect the lens, causing changes preceding cataracts.
11. Infections during pregnancy. If a woman has suffered infections such as chickenpox and rubella during pregnancy, the baby may be born with a congenital cataract.
12. The use of alcohol. Some studies show that alcohol abuse increases the risk of cataract.
13. High levels of triglycerides in the blood. One large study found an increase in cataract risk in men with high triglycerides in the blood.
Not in all cases, cataracts significantly reduce vision and disrupt the patient’s lifestyle.
In cases where this does occur, symptoms in an adult may include:
1. Blurred, distorted vision.
2. Glare from light sources, lamps and the sun.
3. Difficulty driving at night due to glare from the headlights.
4. Difficulties in daily work.
5. Frequent change of points.
6. Double vision.
Especially closely should be observed for symptoms in children, who are far from always able to describe their visual problems..
Signs of cataract in children can be as follows:
1. It’s difficult for a child to find small objects when he crawls on the floor.
2. The child does not look directly at the object or at the person to whom his attention is currently riveted.
3. A child can squint, frown, and protect his eyes from sunlight more than usual. This is due to cataract glare..
4. A child’s eyes sometimes cannot focus on one point at the same time. This phenomenon is called strabismus, or strabismus..
5. The sick eye may make repeated movements (nystagmus). This is usually a late symptom of cataracts. Such a symptom may not occur until the child is six months or a year old..
Today there is no proven way to prevent cataracts.
But some changes in lifestyle can slow the development of cataracts:
1. Quitting smoking.
2. Strict alcohol restriction.
3. Refusal to visit tanning salons.
4. Wearing sunglasses and hats with visors.
5. A diet rich in vitamins C and E. You need to eat a lot of fresh fruits and herbs. You can take multivitamin preparations.
6. If possible, avoid taking steroid medications (only after consultation with your doctor!).
7. Constantly monitor blood sugar.
Surgical treatment is the only effective way to restore vision lost due to cataracts..
Surgical treatment of cataracts usually involves the removal of a clouded lens of the eye. An artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL) is then implanted into the patient..
Surgical treatment is often unnecessary, or may be delayed for months, or even years. Many cataract patients feel great with glasses or contact lenses..
The choice of treatment for children depends on how much cataract affects the child’s vision and daily life. In severe visual impairment, surgical treatment is recommended..
Drops used for cataracts can slow the progression of the disease, but they are not a radical way to get rid of the disease.