Are you suspecting you might have a cataract, but you're too afraid to ask? We're here to calm you down, and break down all of the important issues concerning cataracts – starting from what a cataract really is, why it's caused, how a cataract surgery gets carried out, and what to expect after the procedure, in both the shorter and longer term.
What Is a Cataract Exactly?
A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye, which is usually painless and progressive. However, this accumulation on the lens of the eye is capable of blocking incoming light, which may affect eyesight severely. As a cataract condition deteriorates and left untreated, it is possible for it to cause partial or full blindness.
How Common Is a Cataract?
Cataracts are usually way more common as you grow older, but can be seen in young individuals as well. In a study carried out in the U.S, it has been shown that over half of the population either have cataracts or have had a surgery to remove it. Cataract is the second leading cause of visual impairment and the first cause for blindness in the world.
What causes cataracts?
The most common cause for cataracts is age. As you get older, your lens proteins are significantly far more prone to denature and degrade over time, which may result in degenerated protein accumulations. Existing pre-conditions such as diabetes mellitus and hypertension can expedite those processes as well. Radiation can also serve a cause for cataracts, as it may damage the DNA of lens cells. In addition, genetics, smoking and alcohol consumption and low Vitamin C intake may also play a role.
What to Expect From a Cataract Surgery?
Cataracts surgery is a relatively simple procedure in which the lens of the eye is removed in replaced with a new artificial lens. The new lens should help you restore the clear vision you had before the cataracts appeared. A standard cataract surgery is usually about 15 minutes long. It is uncommon for a both eyes cataract to be treated concurrently. It is recommended to wait at least few weeks before continuing to the second eye.
It is possible for you to have a difficulty adjusting after cataract surgery. Usually, your clear vision should be fully restored within just a few days, but in some cases, it could go as long as weeks, months, and in some rare cases, even years. Each unusual event following the surgery should be addressed professionally by your doctor, but even those events are better handled these days with unique non-invasive methods. Can your eyes get worse after cataract surgery? The answer is undoubtedly no. You vision should not deteriorate after such surgery by any means, unless unexpected complications arise, usually because of pre-conditions.
Finally, it is important to remember that it might be hard for an untrained individual to pick up on cataracts. If you feel like your eyesight is becoming foggy or weakened, it is best to check in with your doctor.