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Cataract Treatment Options

Cataract Treatment Options


Cataract is a condition of the eye that progresses gradually. In the beginning, this condition affects vision in a slight way and then the condition worsens. Hence, the treatment option recommended by the doctor would depend on the stage of the cataract. In the early stage when this condition starts developing, eyeglasses are used to correct the vision as prescribed by the doctor. Depending on the type of cataract affected, some patients suffer from nearsightedness while other patients might find it hard to view nearby objects for example to read.

cataract treatment options

As the condition progresses, wearing eyeglasses will not help in correcting the vision. It is advised to see the doctor immediately as a further worsening of the disease can lead to complications, like complete loss of vision, which might occur if the treatment of this condition is delayed.

There are no medications, eye drops or changes in lifestyle that prevents the progression of cataracts. Hence, various surgical treatment methods are available, depending on the severity of the condition.

Diagnosis

An eye doctor or ophthalmologist will study the patient’s history, symptoms and perform an eye examination along with the following diagnostic tests to confirm the diagnosis,

  • Visual Acuity Test is done to measure how well a person can read a series of letters or number using an eye chart. This test will help in understanding if that person has vision impairment.
  • Slit-lamp examination is a procedure where the structures in front of the eyes such as the cornea, iris, lens and the space between the iris and cornea are magnified and studied to detect any abnormalities.
  • Retinal Examination is performed to view the retina and eye lens with the help of an ophthalmoscope. Eye drops are usually used to dilate the pupils before the examination is performed.

Treatment

In the early stages of a cataract, usage of prescribed eyeglasses can help improve vision. It is necessary to not wait until the cataract matures fully as it makes surgery more difficult and might lead to serious complications.

As the condition progresses, eyeglasses fail to improve the vision so treatment options like surgery are the only option.
Cataract surgery involves removing the affected cloudy lens and replacing it with a clear artificial lens called an intraocular lens, which might be plastic, silicone or acrylic, to improve the vision.

In this procedure, the surgeon will make a small cut with the help of laser and insert a device in the eye to dismantle the cataract and use a suction device to take it out gently. Implanting an intraocular lens is a permanent solution to treat cataracts.

Cataract surgery is a safe procedure, which does not require the patient to stay overnight after the surgery. It generally takes eight weeks for the eye to heal after surgery. In cases where both the eyes have cataract formation, the second eye is typically operated after the first surgery has completely healed. 

Side effects

As in any medical surgery, cataract surgery also carries a risk of side effects. Some of which are given below,

  • Eye infection
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Retinal detachment
  • Fluid buildup in the eye
  • Loosening of the lens implant
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Pressure sensation inside the eye

Authored By Dr. Lalit Kumar

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