Cataracts – Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment
Cataracts is defined by abnormal lens transparency, the clear cause of cataracts is unknown.
Types of cataracts
There are two types of cataracts: congenital and acquired. Acquired cataracts (primitive) may occur on a healthy eye, which has not suffered from any illness, or after an injury (traumatic cataracts).
Primitive cataracts (aquired) are always bilateral (affecting both eyes). At first one eye and then the other. This does not mean the eye affected last is in any relationship with the first, on the contrary there is no connection. Congenital cataracts can occur in one eye or in both eyes. A child may be born with this disorder, which inherits it. In some cases, changes in lens structure of the newborn can occur if the woman suffered an infection during pregnancy.
Symptoms of cataracts should not frighten the patient. Symptoms of cataracts are easy to identify: Cataracts is gradually installed and starts to affect vision at first only slightly. You can have a blurred vision or you can percieve light as very sharp. Other symptoms may also ocuur like double vision, the need to frequently change lenses, or even improved vision (close vision) – in the early stages. Vision fades and diminishes gradually, never abruptly (only the case of traumatic cataracts).
Diagnosis of congenital cataracts in made following a simple consultation: for newborns some eye drops are administrated on the eye and an ophthalmoscope is used to determine the condition. Child’s only chance to see is surgery as soon as possible, immediately after birth. Frequently, children who develop cataracts are operated in the first three months of life. Generally, the diagnosis of cataracts can be made only by an ophthalmologist. Investigations are not very complex. The patient undergoes slit lamp exam. There are situations in which the image is identical for a patient with advanced cataracts and for one without cataracts. This can create confusion, therefore, best suited for patients is to ask the ophthalmologist. The onset of disease, cataracts can be seen by the ophthalmologist even without using an instrument. Before surgery, after certain measurements (biometrics), ophthalmologists tell patients what type of lens they have to buy. In addition, the patient undergoes a sugar blood test and blood pressure is measured. There are situations in which patients have high blood sugar levels, suffer from diabetes, and they do not know about it. High blood sugar levels are a contraindication for surgery , the risk of bleeding beeing very high. Blood pressure is measured. If the blood pressure is high only in the day of surgery, the anesthesiologist can bring it to normal values. If the hypertension is chronic (most cases), the patient is sent to a cardiovascular diseases specialist and will return when blood pressure values are constant and normal.
Treatment of traumatic cataracts is still surgery. These cataracts occur by hitting, pinching or work accidents. Complicated cataracts are the result of ocular complications. The only effective treatment that can solve this disease is surgery. It is relatively simple: the opacified lens is replaced with an artificial lens, the operation being done under local anesthesia. Surgery can be done ambulatory or during hospitalization (1-2 days). Methods of operation are very modern. The surgery takes about 20 minutes. Generally it is better to operate when eyesight is weak. Any kind of operation has its risks. It is wrong to assume that risk when vision is still good, useful. Secondly, it is a big mistake to operate on one eye, in its early stages of cataracts. Operation in early stages, has low chances of success. Normally, immediately after surgery the patient must see. After surgery, a bandage is applied for one day. In total, the patient is not kept in hospital longer than two days for a cataract surgery. Postoperative treatment consists of placing drops. Treatment is not very expensive. After surgery, various complications can occur, such as postoperative inflammation, corneal lesions, which are generally resolved with further treatment. If surgery is performed by doctors who are competent and experienced, success rate is over 98%. Bleeding during surgery can occur in some cases (most patients with cataracts are older people and vascularization is not very good).
There is no way to prevent cataracts. There is one drug that can stop the evolution of the disease, but not all patients develop the desired effect. Also, there are no drugs that can cure the disease, surgery remains the only option.