On World Health Day it is convenient to reflect on the cataracts, because constitute the leading cause of blindness in the world and, also, the leading cause of vision loss in people over 60 years of age.
The waterfalls are an opacity in the natural lens of the eye, which is the crystalline. With the lens we focus on objects. The opacity on the lens will prevent us from continuing to focus on those objects.
Why do cataracts form?
The falls they are a product of age and they arise at the moment in which the proteins of the eye begin to break down and clump together and turn small areas inside the eye into opaque. Due, the lens becomes cloudy and we begin to perceive what we are looking at as if we were seeing it through a translucent glass.
From that moment on, tasks that until the appearance of the cataracts were simple begin to become really complicated. Among these tasks, we will highlight reading, driving or, simply, recognizing the facial features of a person when we meet him on the street.
Cataracts are today a problem that very severely affect people over the age of 70. And, as the years go by, they end up affecting 100% of the population.
The medical director of Ophthalmic Ophthalmology Clinic, Dr. Enrique Chipont, explains that “today, cataracts have a solution. And that solution is surgical”.
The falls may have a slow development and not alter our vision in early stages. Nevertheless, in later stages, they pose a serious problem for vision.
What are the symptoms of cataracts in the eyes like?
The doctor Chipont highlights that “the first symptom of cataracts is loss of visual acuity“That is, the ability of our visual organs to distinguish visual stimuli.
From there, cataracts develop a battery of symptoms, among which we highlight:
Difficulty than normal for night vision
Hypersensitivity to light
Need for over lighting for reading and other activities
Frequent changes of prescription of our glasses
Double vision in one eye
Dr. Chipont explains that “changes in our vision should be enough to go to the ophthalmology consultation. Any of the symptoms described should alert us that our eyes have a problem ”.
Hypersensitivity to light is a symptom compatible with cataracts. People affected by this problem become truly annoying, for example, with the light of oncoming vehicles. To the point that they dazzle them, which over time prevents them from driving.
A paradoxical symptom of cataracts is improved near vision. Although, one of the most characteristic symptoms is blurred vision. The patient perceives objects – as has been said before – as if he were looking at them through a translucent glass.
“This is the moment – underlines Dr. Chipont – when it is essential to go to the ophthalmological consultation. The patient can no longer carry out their daily activities”. If at this point, we do not go to the ophthalmologist, the cataract will get worse. There is no chance that it will get better without diagnosis and treatment, which in this case is surgical.
Other causes of cataracts
In addition to aging, there is another series of causes that can generate cataracts. The most common are the use of certain medications, some diseases such as diabetes or having a family history of cataracts.
Now, that the time change is recent, it is convenient to know that excess sun exposure can accelerate or cause cataracts. “The origin, in this case, is to be found in overexposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun,” explains Dr. Chipont.
“Hence – he adds – the need to take precautions when exposing ourselves to the sun. Because overexposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun is a risk factor for cataract sufferers and also for those who, due to their work, are exposed to long sun exposure ”.
When should the cataract be operated?
Dr. Chipont affirms that “cataracts only have a surgical solution.” The advice of the specialist is to “carry out surgery when the patient begins to perceive the first signs of impaired vision”.
One of the questions when we suspect that we may suffer from cataracts, both by patients and their families, is the steps and tests until the diagnosis is reached. Will it be painful? Will it be uncomfortable? Will it force a great effort? …
First of all, it must be clear that the specialist’s objective is carry out an evaluation to know if there are cataracts and to what degree they are.
“The ophthalmological examination must be complete to conclude if the patient suffers from cataracts or if there is something else that we will only perceive in a complete examination”, underlines Dr. Chipont.
“However, there are essentially three steps: the slit lamp exam allows us to detect abnormalities, the retina exam and the refraction and visual acuity test,” he adds.
“When the diagnosis is already conclusive, it is time to face cataract surgery”. “Surgery,” adds Dr. Chipont, “is the answer to cataracts.”
Cataract surgery consists of removing the lens of the eye that has become opaque. In its place is an artificial lens, which we call the intraocular lens.
- How is cataract surgery performed?
Cataract surgery removes the damaged lens and replaces it with a intraocular lens. From that moment on, the implanted intraocular lens will perform the function of the crystalline lens.
Cataract surgery only requires Local anesthesia. It is ambulatory, therefore, does not need hospitalization, and lasts around 15 minutes. After 24 hours, the patient leads a normal life, with the particularity that he does so having recovered his vision.
What are intraocular lenses for?
One of the most important issues when we undergo a cataract surgery It is the choice of the intraocular lens that the surgeon will implant. This intraocular lens is the one that replaces the damaged lens when we have cataract surgery.
Intraocular lenses They are not only safe, but also They have a layer that, after implantation, will protect us from the action of ultraviolet rays from the sun, which could damage eye tissues.
What types of intraocular lenses are there and which one to choose?
When choosing the intraocular lens we must know that there are three types of intraocular lenses:
Monofocal Intraocular Lenses
Bifocal Intraocular Lenses
Lentes Intraoculares Trifocales
Monofocal Intraocular Lenses: They guarantee the correct vision at a distance. You will need glasses for near and intermediate distance.
Bifocal Intraocular Lenses: They guarantee the correct vision for near and far. Not at mid-range.
Lentes Intraoculares Trifocales: They guarantee the correct vision of near, far and medium distance.
Cataract surgery is done in two parts. One day an eye is operated, and another day the other.
How is the vision after cataract surgery?
“After cataract surgery the patient regains vision. Clearly distinguish objects and the colors of those objects. It is an effective surgery that offers immediate results ”, explains Dr. Chipont.
Why do I have cataract surgery now?
Dr. Chipont states that “cataract surgery cannot be portrayed. The cataract patient’s eye health does not improve. On the contrary, it gets worse and worse ”.
“Medical consultations are safe places”Explains Dr. Chipont. In the case of Oftálica, the clinic has nails surgical facilities of more than 200 square meters.
Count on own operating roomAs is the case with Oftálica, it is important because the patient receives the diagnosis, treatment and periodic check-ups in the same space. With a staff that you know and in a space that is familiar to you, which avoids increased stress.
In addition, Oftálica has launched a battery of Health and safety measures that follow the indications set by the health authorities.
In this sense, patients are subject, upon arrival, to a brief test to find out if they have suffered from covid or have been in contact with someone who has suffered from covid.
In addition, at Oftálica we request:
- Face mask It is mandatory in all facilities.
Taking of temperature upon arrival at the clinic
- Sanitization of hands with hydroalcoholic gel
- Posters indicators
- Circuits separated
- Distance interpersonal in waiting rooms
- Anti Covid Filters in consultations
- Operating room with maximum cleaning, hygiene and aseptic measures
Dr. Chipont emphasizes that “the affections and pathologies that affect the visual health and, most especially, the waterfalls, they do not stop developing unless we submit them to the appropriate treatment. Thus, it is necessary to go to the ophthalmologist in the case of noticing any symptoms that indicate that something is not working properly in our visual organs ”.
“A visit to the ophthalmologist prevents eye problems from growing and developing and favors that, on the contrary, we put a solution to what was hindering our correct vision. This happens with cataracts. Not treating them will only make our condition worse“, it is finished.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.