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What is a cataract?

A cataract is clouding of the lens in your eye which goes on to effect your vision. To understand how a cataract can effect your vision, it help to know a little bit about the structure of the eye:

 

The lens is clear and lies behind the iris and the pupil and works much like a camera lens. The retina is the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Once the lens transfers the image to the retina, it is then changed into nerve signals that are sent to the brain. In order for the lens to be able to focus on objects to give you sharp image, the lens must be clear.

The lens is made up of both water and protein and is arranged in a way that allows light through without distortion.

As we age, the protein in our lens can start to clump together and over time can start to noticeably cloud our vision. This is very common amongst older people, with over half of all Americans having one by the age of 80!

While age is the most common cause of cataracts, you could be at a greater risk if you have family history of cataracts, diabetes, previous experience of eye trauma, obesity or if you smoke.

How are cataracts treated?

The most common way to treat a cataract is with surgery. During a standard surgery, the surgeon will:

  • Manually make an incision in the cornea
  • Make an opening in the front of the lens
  • Use an ultrasonic instrument to break apart the lens into smaller pieces.
  • Remove the lens with an ultrasonic probe and suction.
  • Insert a new artificial lens into the same microincision.

 

 

 

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