Cataracts are the most common cause of reduced vision in the elderly, and can be easily treated. In case you are diagnosed with cataract, you must discuss the treatment options available to you, with your eye doctor. While the only definite treatment of cataracts surgery, not all patients who are diagnosed with cataract need surgery immediately.
What is a cataract?
A cataract is defined as the clouding of the natural lens of the eye. The lens which is transparent is important for focusing light on the light sensitive retina, and when the lens becomes opaque, your vision begins to decrease. This is called cataract. Cataracts usually are common in older people, but can affect any age group, including new born babies. It is important to remember that cataract can affect either one or both eyes to different degrees. Also, cataract is not contagious and cannot spread from one eye to another.
What is the treatment for cataract?
If you have been diagnosed with cataract, it is normal to be a little anxious, since the word that is synonymous with cataract is surgery. It is important to realise that not all cataracts require surgery, and in case you do need surgery, it is an extremely safe and effective treatment option.
What is the non-surgical treatment of cataract?
In case you have good vision despite cataract, and do not require surgery, your doctor will suggest the following as treatment for cataract.
Have a regular eye exam, every six months or earlier, depending on your doctor’s advice. Remember, you must get an annual eye exam even if you are not diagnosed with cataract.
Wear prescribed glasses fr near and distance.
Protect your eyes from harmful UV radiation by wearing sunglasses.
Make sure your blood sugars are well controlled since uncontrolled diabtes can accelerate the rate of cataract progression.
When your day to day activities are being hampered due to vision difficulties, discuss cataract surgery with your eye doctor.
There no eye drops or medicines to cure cataract.
What is the surgical treatment of cataract?
Remember, there are no eye drops or pills that can cure or treat cataract. Even in Ayurveda and ancient India, the described treatment for cataract was surgery. Therefore, make an informed decision, in consultation with your eye doctor about your surgical treatment of cataract.
Here are some decisions you must make, before you decide to go ahead with cataract surgery.
· Choose your eye doctor and eye hospital wisely
· Choose the kind of surgery you want performed. Options include
a. Conventional phacoemulsification
b. Microincision cataract surgery
c. Femtosecond laser or robotic cataract surgery
d. Very rarely: small incision cataract surgery (SICS), EECCE or ICCE with or without vitrectomy.
· Choose the intraocular lens (IOL) for implantation following cataract removal. Options include
a. Conventional IOL
b. Aspheric IOL
c. Multifocal IOL
d. Toric IOL: multifocal/ monofocal
What are the important things to know before treatment of cataract?
You must make sure you have discussed in detail with your doctor the treatment options for cataract. Most doctors will be happy to advise you to wait before recommending surgery, if your vision is good with glasses.
Read More: (Cataract Surgery in Eyes with Glaucoma)
If not, you will be advised to go ahead with surgery. Before surgery, you must discuss the following with your eye doctor:
benefits and possible complications of cataract surgery,
cataract surgery costs,
recovery time, and preparations for cataract surgery.