Treatment of Cataracts

A cataract is the clouding of your eye lens. Persons suffering from this condition often complain about foggy eyesight that can be described as looking through a frosty window. This is an altered vision that poses difficulty in carrying out normal daily activities like reading or driving. Most cataracts develop at a slow rate and may not affect the eyes during the youthful years. [1] Elderly patients are at a higher risk of suffering severe symptoms of cataracts, which requires recommended glasses or surgery to avoid complications.

At first, the cloudiness in a person’s vision caused by a cataract may affect only a small part of the eye’s lens, which does not carry any symptom and can make the patient unaware of the problem. As the cataract grows larger, it clouds more of the lens and distorts the light passing through it. This may lead to more noticeable symptoms.

The following are treatment methods for cataracts. [2]

Surgery

When a cataract interferes with someone’s usual activities, the cloudy lens can be replaced with a clear, artificial lens. This is generally a safe, outpatient procedure. After the procedure, you’ll have some discomfort for a few days. Healing generally occurs within eight weeks.

If you need cataract surgery in both eyes, your doctor will schedule surgery to remove the cataract in the second eye after you’ve healed from the first surgery.

Cataract surgery is rarely an emergency. The decision to have surgery depends on the degree to which your vision is impaired, balanced by the small risk that surgery entails. Although some persons with cataracts find that their vision improves by using eyeglasses, magnifying lenses, or stronger lighting, the only real way to cure cataracts is by surgery. If cataracts affect both eyes, each eye operation is scheduled and performed separately. Current surgical options include:

  • Extracapsular cataract extraction: In this procedure, the lens is either broken up using sound waves, then extracted through a tiny hollow tube, or it is removed in one piece. The normal lens capsule surrounding the lens is left intact.
  • Intracapsular cataract extraction: In this technique, both the lens and the lens capsule are removed. This technique is now performed only in rare cases.