Cataract is a condition of permanent lens opacity in the eye and is the most common cause of visual deterioration in elderly people especially men. Most cataracts develop slowly over a period of time and do not affect at a young age. But with advancing age, cataract interferes with the normal vision and hinders the daily activities performed by an individual.
This condition affects people above the age of 50 years and almost 90% people have this condition by the time they reach that age group.
What are the causes of Cataract?
The lens is present behind the coloured portion of the eye, which is the Iris. Its main function is to focus the light that passes through the eyes to form a clear and sharp image at the retina. The lens acts a camera and is made up of water and proteins. As we know, Cataract is a very slow developing condition in which the proteins present in the clear lens begin to break down. This breakdown leads to the cloudy formation in the eye lens. The light is thus unable to pass through the lens clearly and results in a certain vision loss. The protein forms small clusters or lumps which causes a hazy and blurred vision. Hence, it results in the condition known as Cataract.
There are four types of cataract:
- Age-related cataract occurs with age.
- Traumatic cataract occurs due to any eye injury.
- Congenital Cataract occurs in children who are born with it from birth due to some infection or poor development of the foetus before gestation.
- Secondary Cataract, which occurs due to other medical conditions present like diabetes mellitus.
There are a few risk factors which increase the risk of Cataract in men:
- Family history
- High alcohol intake
What are the symptoms of Cataract?
The symptoms seen in elderly men affected by cataract are as follows:
- Cloudy or blurry vision
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Difficulty in vision during night time
- Double image is seen through the affected eye
- Frequent Changes in eyeglasses prescription
- Sensitivity to glare during the day
- Colours are seen unclearly due to the clouded eye lens
How is cataract diagnosed?
Cataract can be determined by your doctor by performing a few tests listed below.
- Visual Acuity test measures how well a person can read an eye chart by covering one eye alternatively.
- By using a slit lamp to examine the structures present in the eye.
- By dilating your eyes with drops and examining the retina.
How can cataract be treated?
The most effective solution to treat Cataract is by surgery. If the patient’s vision is not hindered while performing daily activities, then the surgery can be avoided and corrected by prescribing glasses. But if the case is worse, surgery is advised for the complete removal of the cloudy lens and placing an artificial lens.
Routine eye check-up at the optometrist, following a healthy lifestyle and managing the current health issues will benefit the patient in the long run.