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Medicineworld.org: Cataracts: Prevention and Treatment

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Cataracts: Prevention and Treatment




For many people, cataracts are a common, inevitable consequence of aging. A cataract is a blurring and impairment of vision as the eye's natural lens becomes cloudy. In addition to this blurriness, individuals with cataracts may have difficulty seeing at night, decreased experience of colors, and heightened sensitivity to bright conditions; they may often find themselves getting new prescriptions from their eye doctors. Cataracts can begin to develop when a person is 40 or 50, but most individuals do not experience serious, detrimental vision consequences as a result of cataracts before their 60s.

Can cataracts be prevented?



Cataracts: Prevention and Treatment

There is no foolproof way to prevent cataracts, but certain steps may slow the progression of cataracts. Some evidence suggests that smoking can facilitate cataract development so stopping or reducing the habit could help. Other studies advocate moderation in the consumption of alcohol (three or fewer drinks on a daily basis). Because UV rays can damage tissue, consistently wearing sunglasses can decrease your risk as well. Other active steps that you can take include eating a healthful diet that includes fruits and vegetables, and scheduling eye exams regularly. In addition to looking for cataracts, your doctor will be more likely to catch a number of other potential eye diseases in their early stages if you are going in for routine appointments. Importantly, if you have diabetes, be pro-active in managing the symptoms because high blood sugar can contribute to damage of the proteins that constitute the eye's natural, crystalline lens thereby leading to cataracts or other vision problems. By extension, maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk of diabetes. Finally, ask your doctor whether any of your medications put you at an elevated risk for cataracts; some corticosteroids, tranquilizers, and steroidal eye drops may do so.

How are cataracts treated?
If your doctor suspects that you have a cataract in one or both eyes, he or she will use the visual acuity test, a dilated eye exam, and/or a tonometry test to confirm the presence of a cataract. In the early stages of a cataract, simple lifestyle changes-such as enhanced lighting, glare-reducing eyewear, or magnifying lenses-may be sufficient to provide noticeable vision improvements. However, if the cataract has begun to impede your activities of daily living-enjoying television, reading books or newsprint, or operating your vehicle safely-cataract surgery may be warranted. Fortunately, cataract surgery is a routine, generally safe procedure in the United States, and most patients are able to return home the same day. In the most common type of surgery, the physician makes a tiny incision on the eye and uses ultrasound waves to break up the natural lens, which is then extracted via suction. After the cataract has been removed, the surgeon replaces it with an intraocular lens.

Choosing an intraocular lens (IOL) is one of the most important decisions that you must make before surgery. The three types that are currently available include monofocal, multifocal, and accommodating IOLs. As the name suggests, monofocal IOLs only provide vision correction for one distance: near or far. Multifocal IOLs, like bifocals or trifocals, can provide vision correction at more than one distance; the lens is subdivided into rings (like a bullseye), and each ring is designed to correct either near or distance vision. Two major difficulties that many patients encounter with multifocal IOLs are that the brain must learn to reprocess "seeing" in this way and that middle-range vision is still challenging. Finally, accommodating IOLs function like the natural lens and adjust to the eye's movement, which allows for a full range of vision. Currently, Crystalens is the only accommodating IOL that is available in the U.S.




Posted by: Mike    Source




Did you know?
For many people, cataracts are a common, inevitable consequence of aging. A cataract is a blurring and impairment of vision as the eye's natural lens becomes cloudy. In addition to this blurriness, individuals with cataracts may have difficulty seeing at night, decreased experience of colors, and heightened sensitivity to bright conditions; they may often find themselves getting new prescriptions from their eye doctors. Cataracts can begin to develop when a person is 40 or 50, but most individuals do not experience serious, detrimental vision consequences as a result of cataracts before their 60s.

Medicineworld.org: Cataracts: Prevention and Treatment

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