A cataract is a growth which develops on one or multiple parts of the eye. It is characterized as a cloudy area that typically develops on the lens of the eye. Depending on its development and location, a cataract may or may not affect vision. Typically, these vision issues occur in senior citizens, but in limited cases develop in infants and small children.
Causes and Symptoms
These growths on the lens affect ones vision by scattering the light that comes into the retina. A typically focused beam of light which goes into the focal point for a clear image will be dispersed within the eye, causing things to look hazy.
- Blurry sight
- Diminished intensity of the color spectrum
- Sensitivity to intense light
- Reduced night vision
Unfortunately, there are no current treatments to combat the development of cataracts, especially because the most common type of development (age associated) develop slowly and are hard to detect until something goes wrong. Besides age, there are several environmental and developmental factors that can affect the development of this affliction including:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Drug us
- Ultraviolet radiation
- Alcohol consumption
- Deficiencies in your diet
To diagnose and treat a cataract, one must understand the subtle differences between them. Cataracts vary in size, shape, and location of the eye, including the different layers within the eye socket. There are three types, detailed below: Nuclear, Cortical, and Posterior Capsular.
Nuclear Cataracts occur in the middle or ‘nucleus’ of the eye.
Cortical Cataracts occur within the lens that encircles the nucleus of the eye.
Posterior Capsular Cataracts develop in the back, outer edge of the yes and typically grow faster
than the first two types.
Identification and Treatment
As these are a very common occurrence in society, they are easy to detect and treat during regularly scheduled vision examination with your provider. To determine factors that cause cataracts, and to better provide medical assistance, don’t be surprised if your doctor requests or administers the below to treat you:
- Your medical history
- A visual acuity test
- Refraction exam
- Evaluates your lens curvature
- Evaluates your retina and iris
- Measures the pressure of your eye
Treating a cataract is completely dependent of the size, shape, location, and development of the growth. If your doctor has caught it early on, treatment could be as simple as corrective lenses, or a stronger prescription. Because cataracts typically do not go away on their own, they in fact worsen over time if minimally treated (or not at all), surgery might be the next option. If a patient’s condition is advanced enough for surgery, there are two avenues that are usually considered:
- Small-incision surgery – Here, a small slit is created in the lateral part of your cornea in order to insert a probe. Once inserted, the probe will generate ultrasonic waves in an attempt to dissolve parts of your lens in order to be suctioned out.
- Extracapsular surgery – A more extreme incision is made on the lateral part of your cornea in order to extract the entire lens for correction. At the time of extraction, the provider will replace your natural lens with a clear, plastic lens.
Unlike any invasive treatment, cataract surgery is not without inherent risks. Although one of the most safe outpatient treatments offered (and with a 90 percent rate of better vision reported), patients run the risk of infection. Other risks include a higher chance of corneal detachment or slight corneal hemorrhaging.
Dr. Joseph Cohen O.D.
Woodland Hills Optometrist
Get excellent service on a comprehensive eye care
Providing service in English and Farsi
19737 Ventura Blvd., Suite 201, Woodland Hills, CA 91364