What do I need to know about cataracts?
Cataracts result from changes in the way the cells of the lens are arrenged, which causes the lens to become cloudy so the light cannot pass directly through to focus on the retina. Objects and things around us become blurred, and vision deteriorates as the lens becomes cloudy. With age, many people can develop it.
Cataracts usually start to cause really severe vision loss after the age of 60. At this age, many people find that their vision becomes blurred, the world becomes increasingly colourless, the eyes become more sensitive to bright lights and the dioptres in their lenses need to be changed more frequently.
Cataracts can insidiously impair your vision
A cataract is an eye disease in which the lens of the eye gradually loses its transparency and becomes cloudy. Light cannot reach the retina, so visual acuity gradually deteriorates and vision becomes blurred.
The loss of vision caused by cataracts can be almost imperceptible and can last for several years. Some people do not notice the changes in the vision. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide.
What causes cataracts?
The development of cataracts depends on many factors. The most common is advancing age. Around the age of 40, the proteins in the lens begin to change and break down, leading to clouding of the lens. However, vision problems only appear gradually over a period of years.
Other causes and predisposing factors for cataracts:
- genetic background, family history of the disease
- certain health problems, such as diabetes
- trauma, eye injury
- UV radiation
- the use of certain medications, such as steroids, can cause early cataracts
- smoking, excessive alcohol consumption
Most age-related cataracts develop gradually. In other cases, cataracts may develop more quickly, for example in younger people or people with diabetes.
What are the symptoms of cataracts?
If you have a cataract, you may notice the following symptoms:
- Cloudy, blurred or hazy vision, as if looking through a veil or cobweb
- Double vision, photosensitivity
- The colours are dull, the shades change and fade
- Severe loss of vision when looking at a bright surface or background
- When driving at night, there is a glare or a halo of light around the headlamp
- You need to change your glasses and its dioptres frequently
- Everything looks a little more washed out than it should be
Cataracts develop very slowly, over months or even years, without any pain, making them difficult to detect. It is important to consult an eye specialist if you experience these symptoms.
What are the options for treating cataracts?
Cataracts can only be removed by surgery. Cataract surgery removes the cloudy lens. The path of light is cleared and visual acuity can be restored by replacing it with an intaocular lens. This lens is known as an intraocular lens (shortened to IOL).
For cataract surgery, two treatment methods are most common, ultrasound cataract surgery and femtosecond laser assisted surgery. The femto laser performs the most critical steps of the surgery based on the pre-set values. This reduces the risks of conventional surgery improves the accuracy of the position of the implanted lens, which improves the best quality of vision available.
Before the operation, you will be given eye drops to dilate and anaesthetise your eyes to make the procedure completely painless.
Cataract surgery is a safe, precise and effective outpatient surgical procedure that takes only 10-15 minutes. Once the cloudy lens has been removed, the selected intraocular lens is implanted in the remaining thin lens capsules. With an intraocular lens implanted, the quality of vision is quickly restored, so many people can see well with their operated eyes the day after cataract surgery and enjoy the vividness of colours. The day after the surgery you can carry out activities at home without wearing glasses, and after a week’s rest you can even go back to work.
If you are experiencing symptoms suggesting cataracts, please contact us for an examination.
Cataract surgery is preceded by a complex eye examination that takes 2-2.5 hours. uring this thorough eye examination, the ophthalmologist will determine the type of the cataract, its progression, whether it is suitable for surgery, check your visual acuity, measure intraocular pressure and perform a fundus examination. An important part of the examination is the customised design of the dioptre of the intraocular lens to be implanted, which is carried out by the ophthalmologist using a special device.
The examination is completely painless and involves no discomfort.
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