A cataract is a disease affecting the natural lens behind the pupil, where the lens becomes clouded, resulting in a painless decrease in vision.
Cataract patients suffer when faced with bright lights, and struggle to see well at night.
A cataract is a gradual hardening of the lens material, which causes clouding of the lens. This means that light being dispersed cannot reach the retina to be transferred to the brain. As a result, it causes blurry or darkened vision and faded colors (often appearing yellow or tanned). A cataract can temporarily improve a person’s ability to see up close, as it functions as a strong lens.
This is called Secondary Vision, because people who used to use reading glasses can do without. When a cataract becomes more aggravated, people go back to wearing glasses and the vision becomes worse.
Aging is the number one cause for cataracts; 99% of elderly people suffer from them, as the lens proteins spoil and degrade over time. This process is accelerated by diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Environmental factors, such as living in hot and humid countries like the Gulf states, or toxins, radiation, and ultraviolet light, have cumulative effects; especially in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), due the high temperatures
There are three types of cataracts: Nuclear Sclerosis, Cortical, and Posterior Subcapsular.
Should the cataract be left to mature?
A “mature cataract” is the full darkening of the lens. Waiting until a cataract gets to this stage to act is no longer medically accurate. With modern surgery, we don’t wait for this stage, and it is not recommended. On the contrary, the sooner surgery is done, the better.
Some people suffer from a cataract in one eye, and delay the surgery because they can use the second eye.
This is dangerous, as delaying the surgery for a long time can make it more difficult, and leads to complications such as hypertonia oculi, or deterioration of the circular bond holding the cataract in place, which leads to it.
When should the cataract surgery be done?
It should be done in the following cases:
1- Low vision, or if the symptoms increase to an extent that they affect the patient’s daily activities.
If the opacity of the cataract hinders the patient’s activities or prevent him from carrying out his work, driving, reading, watching TV, cooking, shopping, walking on the streets, or taking medicines. Based on the patient’s symptoms, the ophthalmologist can decide on a date to conduct the surgery.
2- In cases of eye complications such as glaucoma (increased pressure in the eye).
3- In cases of diseases in the retina or eye nerve which require checking the eye and treating it to remove the cataract (as the cataract obstructs clear vision of the retina).
One of the major dangers of a cataract is that it may cause blindness if it is not treated properly at the right place by a professional doctor.
The question is: do cataracts return?
This is a pressing and common question among patients. Facts indicate that a cataract does not return after removing it.
Cataract removal is one of the most efficient medical operations nowadays.
Over three million cataract surgeries are done annually, with a 97.1% success rate from the first treatment; meaning that patients did not have any post-surgery complications. It is also among the most common surgeries done to human body (surpassing appendectomy and other common surgeries).
Cataract removal surgeries have the highest success rates compared to all other surgeries done to human body.