Cataract

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WHAT IS CATARACT?




Primary cataract is an opacification of the naturally crystalline lens that focuses the light entering the eye onto the retina. This clouding of the lens develops either in the totality of the lens, the anterior capsule, the posterior capsule or the lens nucleus.

Primary cataract often develops gradually and painlessly, so vision can be affected with-out a person realizing it. It is the first cause of legal blindness worldwide and is responsible for the loss of vision of 20 million people. It can be treated by replacing the cloudy lens with an artificial one. Secondary cataract (opacification of the posterior capsule of the lens) may appear after a few months or years of having undergone a cataract extraction.



At first, cataract may only affect part of the lens and according to the location, symptoms might be different. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Clouded, blurred or dim vision
  • Increasing difficulty with vision at night
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Need for brighter light for reading and other activities
  • Seeing "halos" around lights
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
  • Fading or yellowing of colors
  • Double vision in a single eye


PRIMARY CATARACT:
Diagnosis will be established by an ophthalmologist. Several exams may be performed including a slit lamp examination, visual acuity measurement, ultra-sound imaging, axial length measurement. Other exams will be used to rule out any other ocular pathologies.

SECONDARY CATARACT:
Diagnosis will be established by an ophthalmologist. Signs and symptoms may include, but are not limited to:

  • Blurry vision.
  • Seeing white clouds around your peripherals.
  • Sensitivity to light.

Cataract surgery is currently one of the world most performed procedure. The surgery consists in the removal of the natural lens and its replacement by an artificial one called intraocular lens.

The preferred surgical technique is called phacoemulsification. Usually, it is made under local anaesthesia, lasts 15 minutes in average and is generally done on an outpatient basis. As cataract may appear in both eyes, the treatment of the second eye will generally be performed at a later date after the healing of the first eye.

Secondary cataract (opacification of the posterior capsule of the lens) may appear after a few months or years of having undergone a cataract extraction. The treatment that is usually recommended after the appearance of a secondary cataract is to undergo a capsulotomy with the help of the Nd:YAG laser.