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Cataract

Cataract is an eye disease due to opacity of the lens.

Causes

The most common is age related (degenerative), affecting most of the older elders. Other causes include inborn or congenital, injuries to the lens, and effects of drugs. Systemic illnesses like diabetes mellitus may lead to earlier onset of cataract.

Symptoms

Symptoms vary among patients and depend on the degree and site of opacity of the lens. The most common are:

  • Gradual impairment of vision
  • Faded or dimmed vision
  • Glare or dazzle (particularly in bright sunlight or when driving at night)
  • Change in color of objects seen
  • Double vision

Management

Up to now, there is no medication with proven efficacy for the prevention or slowing of progress of opacification. Treatment of cataract is by extraction of the opaque lens by operation.

Cataract operation

  • Timing for operation varies from person to person and depends on how the cataract has affected the daily life of the patient.
  • Regular assessment by the eye doctor is important for deciding the right time for operation.
  • Most patients only need operation years after detection of cataract.
  • The lens extraction is a safe operation with high success rate.
  • However, occasionally there may be complications, e.g. internal bleeding, glaucoma, and retinal detachment, which may cause visual impairment

Artificial lens

After lens extraction, the eye cannot focus objects. Therefore, special corrective lens like spectacles or contact lens is required. However, spectacles are made of thick convex lens. Skills and precautions are needed to wear contact lens properly. Both are not suitable for the elderly. Nowadays, most people choose implantation of intra-ocular lens. It is a safe operation. Most patients recover their eyesight fully. But there may be slightly higher risk of complications like infection and glaucoma. Patients who are severely short-sighted or have iritis are not suitable for intra-ocular lens implantation.

Eye care after cataract operation

Immediately after the operation, allow adequate rest of the eyes and the head. During the recovery period,

  1. Maintain a balanced diet.
  2. Ensure vegetable and fruit intake to avoid constipation.
  3. Avoid alcohol, indigestible and spicy food.
  4. Avoid dirty water getting into the eyes while washing hair or bathing.
  5. Follow the prescribed treatment according to instructions given by doctor or nurses.
  6. Attend regularly follow up.