What’s up with cataracts?

A cataract is a common eye disease. Currently, both in developed and developing countries, cataract is the main eye disease that causes blindness. According to the survey results of our country, cataract is also the most important eye disease causing blindness in our country. Normally, the lens behind the pupil is transparent, but when it becomes cloudy, it becomes a cataract. The initial opacity has little effect on vision, and then gradually aggravates, significantly affecting vision and even blindness. The exact cause of cataracts is not known, but it may be related to aging, genetic factors, excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays, and certain inflammatory diseases in the eye. Usually the onset of both eyes, but the time can be successive, the severity varies. Trauma can also lead to cataracts. Cataracts most commonly occur in people over the age of 50, and patients with high myopia and diabetes develop cataracts earlier. Cataracts are currently not preventable, and surgery has proven to be the most effective and only way to treat cataracts. In general, cataract patients can be considered for surgery when their visual acuity is significantly reduced. The requirements for visual acuity vary from person to person. Generally, if the visual acuity is less than 0.3, surgery can be considered, and those who have higher requirements on visual acuity of 0.5 can also be considered for surgery.

What are the common symptoms of cataracts?

   Senile cataracts are mostly in both eyes, and there are almost no symptoms in the early stage, only a layer of white fog in front of the eyes. Unmoving shadows, gradual loss of visual acuity that cannot be corrected with glasses, and sometimes visual distortion, diplopia, and PolyVision in one eye. In the process of cataract development, individual patients may experience severe eye pain, redness, nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms. It is clinically called lens expansion glaucoma in ophthalmology and should seek medical attention immediately to avoid irreversible blindness.

Can drugs treat cataracts?

   Cataract drug treatment has no definite effect. Currently, both at home and abroad are in the exploratory and research stage. For some early cataracts, the development of the disease may be slowed down and the vision will be slightly improved after medication, but this is not necessarily a drug treatment. As a result, the early progression of cataracts to maturity is a relatively long process. For some intermediate and near-mature cataract patients, drugs have no definite therapeutic effect.

What is phacoemulsification intraocular lens implantation for cataracts?

   Phacoemulsification cataract extraction is a special type of extracapsular cataract extraction, which has the advantages of small anterior incision, fast healing, and good vision recovery. Therefore, it has been used by more than 80% of ophthalmologists in developed countries. At present, many experienced cataract specialists in my country are switching from extracapsular cataract extraction to phacoemulsification cataract surgery. The operation is to use a phacoemulsification instrument, through a 3-5mm corneoscleral incision, apply ultrasonic waves to crush the cloudy lens into chyle, and then suck it out. Its advantages are small incision, less tissue damage, well-maintained anterior chamber, short operation time, fast visual recovery, stable refractive status, and small corneal astigmatism.

To what extent should senile cataracts develop to be operated?

   Because the drug therapy of cataracts cannot effectively treat cataracts so far, surgery is still the main method for the treatment of senile cataracts. With the continuous development of cataract surgical instruments and techniques and the improvement of people’s quality of life, the indications for cataract surgery are also being relaxed. In recent years, small incision phacoemulsification cataract extraction has been widely carried out nationwide, which greatly shortens the cataract operation time. Generally speaking, when the cataract causes vision loss and has affected daily work and life, surgery can be performed. For example, in European and American countries, because the visual acuity is above 0.7 to drive a car, cataract surgery is required when the corrected visual acuity is below 0.7. Specific to my country, the situation is more complicated, and it depends on the occupation of the patient, the type of cataract, and the surgical technique of the surgeon. The more common standard is: due to the influence of cataracts, surgery should be considered when the visual acuity is corrected to 0.3–0.4, rather than waiting for the cataract to mature before phacoemulsification surgery because at this time the core part of the cataract is softer than phacoemulsification. The success rate is high, otherwise, phacoemulsification surgery will be lost when the cataract is mature. The risk of surgery is increased, and complications are prone to occur.

Are there any dangers without surgery for severe cataracts?

   Surgery is the best way to treat cataracts. There is no doubt that surgery is necessary, but it is not necessary to have cataract surgery. The best time for cataract surgery has been discussed above, but some people still think that cataracts are ripe. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have surgery, you just can’t see it? Everyone knows that this view is very wrong and dangerous. Because, in the process of cataract development, if not treated in time, there will be many serious complications, such as glaucoma, uveitis, etc. These eye diseases mostly occur in the middle and late stages of cataract, such as swelling and overmaturity, not only It can cause blindness and sometimes severe inflammation in the eye, causing the eyeball to shrink. Some patients may suffer from long-term eye pain, and finally, have to do enucleation as a last resort. Therefore, it is necessary to remind everyone that the development of cataracts to a certain extent requires surgical treatment.

By Cary Grant

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