The lens is used by the eye to focus the images on the retina. The problem is that as you get older, usually between the age of 55-60, this lens hardens and begins to lose its natural transparency, becoming increasingly opaque and affecting the quality of vision. They usually develop in both eyes at the same time, although there may be differences between them.
Although the development of cataracts is slow, it must be taken into account that there are different factors that can speed up the process:
- Family background.
- Inflammatory eye injuries.
- The existence of other eye diseases (glaucoma, uveitis, high myopia, etc.).
- Excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation (sunlight)
- Prolonged treatments with corticosteroids.
In the early phase of cataract development, there are no discernible symptoms. Usually they usually begin to be evident around 70-75 years old. The most common are the following:
- Blurred or foggy vision
- Sensitivity to intense light (glare)
- A loss of night vision, which is also detected in dimly lit environments.
- A halo can be seen surrounding light sources
- You can have a double vision
- Colours are less vivid and lose luminosity
- The contour of objects is not correctly distinguished
- Myopia of the eye that sometimes leads to improvements in the patients near vision
The loss of quality of vision is not an exclusive symptom of cataracts, so it is important to undergo regular ophthalmic revision. But in this case the important thing is to have a diagnosis as early as possible. If the symptoms affecting vision are mild and do not affect the ability to perform normal activities, a number of measures can be recommended that will help to improve it: changing the prescription of glasses, wearing sunglasses, improving lighting at home, etc.
The only effective treatment for cataracts is surgery, which should be done when symptoms begin to make it difficult to perform activities associated with daily life. The ophthalmologist will decide the most appropriate time to perform the intervention in the best possible conditions and with little risk.
Cataract surgery is performed using a very safe technique called phacoemulsification, which is performed under local anaesthesia and only takes about 20 minutes.
It consists of undoing the lens through the use of ultrasound, emptying it completely and replacing it with an intraocular lens that, besides replacing the function of the lens, also eliminates presbyopia and myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism.
results of the operation
The incisions that are made in the surface of the eye are minimal, which is why recovery from surgery is practically immediate and with hardly any complications. Only slight discomfort can be felt in the moments immediately after it.
Therefore, it is not usually necessary to hospitalize the patient, who can return to normal activity in a short period of time having fully recovered his or her vision and without needing to re-use glasses, if they previously had no additional eyesight condition. It is recommended to wear sunglasses for a while.