What is a Cataract?
The lens in a healthy eye is normally clear and transparent. This allows light to enter which helps to tap see things distinctly. The lens is mainly made up of protein and water. Over the years, especially in the elderly, this protein may start to form clumps and become cloudy. This constrics vision causing images to look blurry with a yellowish tint.
What are the symptoms?
Usually, cataracts symptoms start small, blurring limited parts of the vision. As it grows, the vision is limited and it is difficult for elders to make out the shapes sometimes.
The most common symptoms of cataracts are:
- Cloudy or blurry vision
- Double vision
- Difficult to see in the dark/at night
- Colours looking muted
- Normal light can feel too bright
- Rings around light
- Frequently changing eyeglasses prescription
Cataracts do not occur overnight. Usually, the symptoms can be easily managed with a change in the prescription of eyeglasses, using more light while reading and working or using a magnifying lens.
What are the best ways of preventing and treating cataracts in the elderly?
It is a common condition and though it can’t be treated completely in the elderly, following a few tips can help in keeping the eyes healthy.
Best ways to prevent cataracts:
- Keep chronic diseases like blood pressure, diabetes and obesity in check.
- Go for regular eye checks.
- Control alcohol intake. Quit smoking as smoking tends to limit the supply of oxygen, affecting sensitive areas like the eyes. It is one of the most common causes of cataracts.
- Eat nutritious meals containing fruits, vegetables and greens.
- Wear sunglasses while going out, protecting eyes from direct sunlight.
Best ways to treat cataracts:
Surgery is the most common cataracts treatment. According to reports, about 3.5 million cataract surgeries are performed in India each year, saving nearly 3,20,000 people from blindness annually. It is considered the safest and most effective cataracts treatment method.
Many seniors tend to push surgery causing vision loss and difficulty in doing even the simplest of jobs. If you are someone with the condition, do not hesitate to get your eyes checked and discuss surgery if needed. About 90% of people who have undergone cataract surgery experience improved vision.
The surgery involves removal of the cloudy lens and a permanent artificial lens. If it is present in both eyes, the surgery is done after the other.
After the surgery, the new lens has to adjust to the eye, which can take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks. During this time, the patient may require help in administering eye drops, doing chores and cooking. It is important to remember that vision may be a little blurred until the lens completely adjusts to the eye after which your vision should definitely improve.
Are you someone who has undergone cataract surgery? How was your experience like or let us know of any other useful cataracts treatment tips in the comments below.
At The Chennai Homes, caring for our residents’ health, we conduct monthly eye check ups and assist with cataracts treatment at no cost with the help of doctors from notable hospitals around the city.