Why Cataracts Develop and How Surgery Can Help

Cataract eye surgery is a safe and effective method of fixing the vision problems associated with cataracts. A cataract occurs when the lens of your eye, which is usually clear, begins to cloud over.

This cloudiness interferes with your vision, depending on its location and size. Cataracts generally affect older people, but people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities can develop a cataract for a variety of reasons.

Cataracts can also develop as a result of a traumatic injury to the eye or previous eye surgery. In some cases, babies are born with cataracts.

Why cataracts develop

Most of the time, cataracts are age-related and form due to protein degradation in the eye. Some risk factors may contribute to cataracts, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Certain medications such as corticosteroids
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Exposure to ultraviolet light
  • Nutritional deficiencies

Cataracts occur when the eye’s tissues break down and clump together, forming small cloudy patches. When a cataract first begins to develop, the patient may not even notice. As it grows, more of the lens clouds over. Eventually, the patient will start to experience a significant decline in the quality of their vision.

Corrective lenses will help for a time, but as the condition progresses, even glasses or contact lenses won’t be able to sharpen the vision to a satisfactory level.

Cataracts impair your vision because the cloudiness in the lens scatters light as it enters the eye. They impact how the light hits the retina at the back of the eye, resulting in the transmission of blurry images to the brain. Early symptoms of cataracts can include strong glare from artificial lights at nighttime and greater difficulty seeing in low light.

How surgery can help

When your cataracts reach a point where they interfere with your ability to undertake regular, everyday tasks, you may require surgery. Cataract eye surgery can usually restore vision to pre-cataract levels, with some patients even reporting they have better vision than they did before the operation.

Surgical eye cataract treatment involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. The surgeon will make a small incision in the eye and use an ultrasound device to break up the cloudy lens, before removing the pieces with suction.

Once they have removed the existing lens, the surgeon will then replace it with the artificial lens. The surgery is usually an outpatient procedure and rarely requires an overnight stay. Simple cataract surgery usually lasts less than an hour.

After your eye has healed from the surgery, you experience a vast improvement in your vision, giving you more confidence and a better quality of life.

Final words

Cataracts can have a significant impact on our well-being and daily life, but there are treatment operations available. If you are suffering from poor vision as a result of a cataract, speak to an ophthalmologist about cataract eye surgery.

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