A second chance at a visually enjoyable life

Cataracts are thought to be the leading advance cause of vision loss in people over the age of 40.  It affects the transparency of the lens of the eye.  In simple terms, it’s like looking through a fogged up window.  Other signs include half glare, sensitivity to light and difficulty with night vision.

There are different types of cataracts.  However, cataracts usually occur at an older age.  The lens of the eye (which works like a camera lens) focuses light at the retina, as well as adjusts the eye’s focus.  Small areas of cloudiness start to develop as we age.  These enlarge and cause visual loss.  Cataracts are therefore a common cause of treatable blindness.

Other causes of cataracts include diabetes, trauma, uveitis (inflammation in the eye), congenital cataracts, smoking, UV light, prolonged use of corticosteroid medications and significant alcohol consumption.

Antioxidants, Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E and carotenoids seem to help in the prevention of cataract formation.

The primary treatment for cataracts is, however, surgery with intraocular lens insertion.  Various intraocular lens options are available, which allow either to be able to focus at distance, near or both.  This is usually discussed at the time of consultation with your ophthalmic surgeon.

Most patients will experience vision improvement almost immediately.  However, it may take a while for the eye to settle down.  With modern cataract surgery there is very rarely instances where sutures are used to close the wound, so patients don’t have to come back for stitch removal.  Vigorous activity and swimming is not recommended in the post-surgery period.

Cataract surgery is a highly successful, safe and a minimally invasive procedure, which will, as many patients state “give you a second chance at a visually enjoyable life”.

Source: Drs Ismail Dindar & Akiel Asvat, Ophthalmologists operating at Intercare Day Hospital Sandton.

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