The eye is the most rapidly affected sensory organ from the aging process. With advancing age, a person's vision may deteriorate. Cataract is also a result of visual impairments due to aging and is a common cause of blindness. Cataract, which causes symptoms such as decreased vision quality and decreased color saturation, greatly affects the person's quality of life. Cataract, which is common in advancing ages, begins to appear between the ages of 55 and 60, and cataract surgery is frequently performed.
“What is a cataract?” The answer to the question can be given as the clouding of the lens of the eye by losing its transparency. This disease is classified according to age. The types of cataracts that occur in line with this classification are as follows:
- Congenital cataracts (present at birth)
- Senile cataracts (Develops with aging)
Cataracts can appear in both or only one of the eyes. In this condition, one eye is more affected by the cataract condition than the other. The lens, which is normally transparent, transmits light to the back of the eye and provides clear vision. However, if a part of the lens becomes cloudy, the light does not enter in the required amount and the sense of sight is affected. In cases where treatment is delayed, the blurred areas enlarge and increase. The sense of sight is more affected by this increase, leading to a decrease in the quality of life of the person.
Cataract, which usually develops due to age, may occur as a result of trauma, congenital reasons, drug use or some eye diseases in some cases. The causes of cataract are as follows:
- In congenital cataracts, if the situation is such that the baby's pupil is completely closed, the necessary operation is performed quickly. In babies under the age of 3, the physical development of the eye is not yet fully completed, so lens implantation is not performed during the procedure.
- In senile cataract that develops due to aging, the condition is genetically inherited at a rate of 50% and the gene causing this condition has not been identified yet. For this reason, it is important for people aged 40 and over to have an eye examination routinely at intervals of 2 to 4 years. These routine checks are; adjusted for 1 to 3 years after the age of 55, and 1 to 2 years after the age of 65.
Cataract may not show any symptoms in the initial period. However, symptoms appear with advancing age. Typical symptoms during the onset of cataract include blurred vision, inability to see clearly, and hazy and smoky vision. In some cases, even spots can be seen in areas where vision is not clear. Cataracts can cause colors to appear paler and less sharp. As a result of this situation, there may be difficulties in driving, reading newspapers and books, and watching television.
The answers to the frequently asked questions "What is a cataract, what are its symptoms?" are as follows:
- Double vision
- Difficulty seeing near and far objects
- Poor vision in sunny environments
- Blurred vision
- Difficult and pale perception of colors
- Eye fatigue and headaches
- Frequently required changes in strength of glasses
- Decreased need of glasses
- Better near sight without glasses
- Decreased night vision
- Loss of sense of depth
Cataract treatment is performed by eye examination with an ophthalmoscope after the patients history is heard by a specialist physician. The ophthalmoscope is a device that allows the physician to see the inside of the eye in detail under intense light. With the help of this device, the physician assesses the extent of the eye lens affected. In some cases, even if the patient does not have any complaints, cataracts can be noticed during the eye examination performed with this method and the patient is informed about this treatment process. Cataracts cannot be prevented or treated with medication or diet. Therefore, it requires surgical intervention. The stages of surgical application are shaped according to the patient's vision level and complaints. However, if the cataract is in the early stages, the quality of life can be increased by the use of glasses.
Thanks to the developing technology, cataract surgery can be performed easily and quickly. Before starting the surgical procedure, the patient's eye area is usually anesthetized with local anesthesia. After this procedure, a small tunnel incision of 2 – 3 mm is created and the blurred lens is fragmented and removed with ultrasonic vibrations. Upon completion of this procedure, a high quality artificial multifocal or monofocal lens is placed in the eye to improve the patient's vision. The lens attached to the patient with cataract surgery also improves the elimination of other visual defects, and the patient can see far and near without glasses after this surgery. Cataract surgery can take an average of 30 minutes, but this time varies according to the patient's condition. After the surgery, the patient is recommended to use eye drops for 3 to 4 weeks. The patient does not need to be hospitalized after the surgery. If there is a cataract problem in both eyes, intermittent surgeries can be performed according to the physician's recommendation, but both eyes are not intervened at the same time. Although there are some restrictions after cataract surgery, the patient can use his sense of sight from the first day.
With age, the lens in the eye thickens and loses its flexibility. With the loss of flexibility, problems of focusing near and far are experienced by the patient. As a result of the deterioration of the tissues in the lens and the accumulation of protein in the lens, staining occurs on the lens and this prevents the light from scattering. As a result, the image cannot reach the retina and vision is impaired. In fact, as a result of this situation, some people may have problems such as not being able to see completely. It is not possible to completely prevent the formation of cataracts. However, the risk of getting this condition can be reduced by:
- Quitting smoking
- Healthy and balanced diet
- Keeping diabetes under control
- Protecting eyes from direct sun exposure and avoiding looking at the sun with naked eye
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR AFTER THE SURGERY?
The patient's recovery of normal vision after surgery differs according to the stiffness and softness of the cataract. However, post-operative recovery takes an average of 1 week. During this period, it is also important for the patient to not scratch his eyes, not to take a shower for 72 hours and to use the drops recommended by the doctor.
WHEN SHOULD THE CATARACT SURGERY BE PERFORMED?
If there are significant problems in the sense of sight and the quality of life of the person has started to be adversely affected, the necessary treatment and surgery process should be started without wasting time.
WHAT ARE THE LENSES USED IN CATARACT SURGERY?
In this surgery, intraocular lenses that will fulfil the same function as the natural eye lens are inserted instead of the patient's lens that has lost its transparency. Depending on the patient's condition, toric lenses correcting unifocal astigmatism can be used, and lenses providing far and near intermediate vision can be used.
DO CATARACTS RECUR?
Cataract does not recur. The lens causing the cataract is removed and replaced with a new lens. Treatment is also performed with smart lens surgery.