Medical Facts About Cataracts

What causes cataracts?

 

Cataracts are usually related to aging. The National Eye Institute states that risk of cataract increases every decade after the age of 40.  Over 90% of the population will develop some form of cataract by the age of 65 (Kellogg Eye Center), and half of all seniors aged 75 to 85 will experience some vision loss due to cataract.

 

Cataracts can also result from other health conditions, such as diabetes, or occur after an injury to the eye. Ocular health issue such as retinal detachment can also lead to cataract formation. Use of certain prescription drugs such as steroids, statins, or hormone replacement therapy can also lead to cataracts.

 

What are the symptoms of a cataract?

 

Patients cannot feel a cataract. Rather, cataracts cause visual symptoms such as cloudy, blurry, or double vision. Other visual symptoms include fading colours, glare around light sources, poor night vision, or frequent changes in optical prescriptions. Cataracts can cause a patient to see dark fixed spots before the eye. 

 

Infants and small children with cataracts may squint or have abnormal eye movements. Children with cataracts may not respond to visual cues or could have difficulty seeing in bright light.

 

Who is at risk for cataract?

 

A person can develop cataracts at any age, but it is most common in older adults. Cataracts in younger people are most commonly attributed to medical issues such as diabetes, genetics, medications such as steroids, or injuries.

 

How do cataracts cause blindness and why?

 

A cataract is the clouding of the lens inside the eye. Sometimes a cataract can become so advanced—the lens so opaque— as to cause blindness. Cataract blindness is the most common form of blindness worldwide, yet the cataract blindness can be treated by surgery.

 

 

What is MSICS and why does HelpMeSee use this form of surgery?

 

Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery (MSICS) is a cataract surgery technique that achieves excellent results with minimal technology, which is particularly important when working in the developing world. The nature of the small incision means that no stitches are required, reducing healing time. MSICS is an alternative to the more costly phacoemulsification surgery, which uses ultrasound to emulsify and remove the cataract.

 

How safe is cataract surgery?

 

Cataract surgery is safe and provides great results. Patients do not feel the artificial lens and typically experience few to no complications.

 

Are there alternatives to surgery?

 

Once the vision becomes poor there is no other treatments except surgery.

 

How much does vision improve after cataract surgery?

 

Cataract surgery typically leads to vision improvements. While most patients experience improved vision one day after surgery, some experience swelling that goes away after a short period of time. Some patients need to wear glasses to achieve 20/20 vision after surgeries.

 

Can cataracts return?

 

Cataracts cannot return, although the bag in which the cataract sits can become cloudy. This can then be remedied with an in office laser procedure which takes only a few minutes.

 

How prevalent are  cataracts?

 

Cataract blindness is the leading cause of blindness worldwide, making up 51% of blindness cases globally. More than 20 million people suffer from cataract blindness.