What are cataracts?

Cataracts are an opacity in the lens (the transparent natural lens of the eye used to focus the images on the retina). When they appear the patient experiences permanent blurred vision that can prevent him from living normal life. Other possible symptoms are increased sensitivity to light, difficulty in night vision, and perception of dimmed or yellowish colors.

Why do cataracts form?

The most frequent cataract is that associated with age. The lens, over the years, becomes more rigid and takes a certain yellowish color (nuclear sclerosis). Over time this opacity becomes denser, being able to change the patient’s graduation or produce a progressive loss of vision (which sometimes, being very slow, is not noticeable by the patient until it is very advanced).

However, there are many other causes of cataracts, such as eye trauma, metabolic diseases (e.g. diabetes), myopia, some drugs such as corticosteroids, tobacco, intraocular inflammation, etc …

How are cataracts treated?

The only effective treatment of cataracts is surgery. There are no pills or drops that can treat or prevent the formation of cataracts.

When the cataract makes the patient’s daily life difficult, your ophthalmologist will recommend the intervention.

Consider these questions when deciding if it is time to have surgery:

  • Can you see well enough to do your job and drive safely?
  • Do you have a problem reading or watching TV?
  • Is it difficult to cook, buy, do gardening or climb the stairs?
  • Do vision problems affect your level of independence?
  • Do you have a problem with intense light?

If the answer is yes in any of them, the intervention may be appropriate for your case.

For more information on the intervention see the following post:


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    Intraocular lens after surgery

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