Cataracts – a serious disease


A cataract is a serious condition that describes a clouding of the lens, which severely limits vision. Normally, this disease tends to occur in old age, i.e. from the 6th decade of life , and is therefore the most common eye disease in older people. However, younger people can also be affected, as it is not yet possible to say exactly why cataracts occur and how exactly the occurrence of the disease can be prevented. It can only be said that structural proteins in the eye change to such an extent that a clouded lens is the result. Normally the lens is crystal clear, the view is then also good. With a clouded lens, the entire visual impression is blurred, less colored and low in contrast. In addition, people suffering from cataracts are blinded more quickly. So far, apart from surgery, there are no measures against this eye disease. Cataracts can lead to blindness, around 40 percent of all blindness worldwide can be attributed to this disease. Therefore, cataracts are a serious disease and a doctor should be consulted immediately at the first symptoms. In addition, regular check-ups from the age of 40 are a good measure for early detection.

Possible causes of cataracts


It is not yet really clear, or rather not yet researched, why cataracts occur at all. It is not clear why, but it seems as if the structural proteins of the lens would change and crystallize. As a result, the normally very clear lens becomes clouded and the view also becomes blurred. The reason for the blur is the fact that the incident light no longer comes through unhindered and therefore no clear images are produced on the retina. However, a distinction must be made between different forms of cataracts and the so-called senile cataract is only one and perhaps the most widespread form of this eye disease. Age cataracts arise partly from previously unknown factors and are also sometimes hereditary. When cataracts occur in children, adolescents or babies, it is usually a hereditary disease. In addition, the eye disease can occur in connection with neurodermatitis . The third form of cataracts is not congenital, it is triggered by various risk factors. Certain medications and radiation such as UV light can trigger the disease. Diabetes mellitus, like smoking, is one of the ways to get cataracts. Other metabolic diseases or a lack of essential nutrients also promote the development of the disease. However, cataracts can also occur with injuries to the eye or with another disease such as glaucoma. Cataracts can therefore occur at any age and certain diseases or an unhealthy lifestyle promote the development of the disease.

Three different forms of cataracts

Cataracts are divided into three different types because different areas of the eye can be affected. The symptoms are then also different and depend on the respective form of the star. In nuclear cataracts, the entire center of the eye is clouded and blindness usually occurs if no suitable operation is carried out. Then there is the so-called bark star, which penetrates the bark of the lens in a circular or spoke-like manner. The last form is shell opacity or also called posterior subcapsular cortical opacity. This lies directly under the back capsule of the lens and forms a shell. In addition, each form of cataract can still be pronounced to different degrees. The different affected areas also explain the very different symptoms of cataracts. However, a cloudiness or a gray haze is present in every form and varies in intensity depending on the degree of severity.

Symptoms of cataracts

Among the very first symptoms of cataracts are blurred vision, a low-contrast image and the lack of clear colors. Double vision or a glow of light around different objects is also one of the classic symptoms of cataracts. Many of those affected are very sensitive to glare, which is due to the incident light, which is diffusely refracted. Exactly how the symptoms appear and how severe they are depends on the severity of the condition and the exact form of the cataract. A distinction must be made between the total star, which covers the entire eye, and the core star. In addition, ophthalmologists still speak of the posterior subcapsular cortical opacity. With the total star the eye is blind, with the core star it is very difficult to see in the distance. In addition, double vision often occurs with this form of the star. In the posterior subcapsular cortical opacity, there is a very high glare sensitivity and close vision is greatly reduced. Therefore, the symptoms must always be differentiated according to the type of cataract and the degree of severity. It is also important that cataracts can occur together with many other eye diseases and are therefore not always found alone. Cataracts are often accompanied by glaucoma, also known as glaucoma. In order to avoid further problems or even loss of sight, it is always important to act in good time and to attend regular check-ups at the ophthalmologist .

treatment options for the disease

contact lens

In order to be able to treat cataracts, they must first be identified. Central to this is an examination with a slit lamp microscope, in which the device shows the front sections of the eye greatly enlarged. With the help of drops, the pupil is dilated so that a closer view is possible. The treatment for the affected eye is clear: an operation will be performed . The clouded lens is replaced by an artificial lens, a procedure that is carried out very frequently these days and is quite safe. It is always more difficult if there are other diseases of the eye, such as glaucoma. Complications cannot be ruled out during the operation, but they don't happen quite as often anymore and the right medication continues to reduce the risk. Surgery is the only treatment option when one or both eyes are affected by cataracts.

Important information about cataracts

Cataracts are a common eye disease that can be treated with surgery and the use of artificial lenses. The disease can occur at any age and varies in severity. Depending on which part of the eye is affected by the cataract, other symptoms are possible. However, clouding or blurring of vision is almost always a known symptom. Protecting your eyes with sunglasses and a smoke-free life reduce the likelihood of developing cataracts - if there is no hereditary predisposition. If symptoms are found that are reminiscent of cataracts, an ophthalmologist should always be consulted immediately and without waiting.

(Image source: Wikipedia EyeMD)

Viet Trinh

A cataract is a serious condition that describes a clouding of the lens, which severely limits vision.

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