Cataracts Symptoms and Treatment: Your 101 guide

Cataracts are a common eye condition in elderly people and are sometimes part of ageing. It can cause many complications with vision and could even lead to vision loss. Being able to see the symptoms and seek treatment is very important.

What are cataracts and how will I know if my elderly parent has it?

A cataract is a membrane that grows over the lens of the eye. It tends to look grey or cloudy. Once developed and covering the lens completely, it can cause vision distortion or “cloudy” images in the affected eye. While it may happen over a long period, your elderly loved one may not even be aware that they have it. Tests are done to determine the condition of the eye.

Some symptoms of cataracts

Here are some of the basic symptoms most patients experience:

  • Find it difficult to see in the dark or at night
  • Vision seems cloudy as if looking through frosted glass
  • Halos sometimes appear in their vision
  • Spectacles lens prescription fluctuate all the time

Those are only some of the symptoms. But, patients may also experience sudden headaches, eye pain, and double vision.

Why do some people develop cataracts?

As mentioned in this post, sometimes it’s part of ageing. As we get older the lenses of the eyes are less flexible and thus susceptible to cataract development. Yet, some folks may develop this condition as a result of genetic inheritance. For this reason, some babies can develop “infantile cataracts” which occurs within their first year.

Treatment for cataracts in elderly people

Before the specialist discusses the treatment options, they first need to establish what type of cataract it is.

These may include the following types:

  • Nuclear cataracts – can lead to nearsightedness, and usually causes a yellow or brown colour in the lens of the eye. This cataract affects the centre of the lens
  • A cortical cataract – this one affects the edges of the lens and interferes with the light being refracted through the centre of the eye.
  • Posterior subcapsular cataracts – affects the back part of the eye and reduces the ability to see in bright light and nearsightedness.
  • Congenital cataracts – as mentioned this one is hereditary and can occur at birth or in the first year, or later when the patient reaches senior years.

Treatment for cataracts

In severe cases patients would need surgery. The ophthalmologist does this with a laser and it is a commonly performed procedure with a high success rate. In the meantime, to help cut the risks of cataracts it’s important to stop smoking. There are studies that show tobacco has an influence on the development of cataracts. Diabetic patients can be more prone to develop cataracts and following a strict diet will help manage the condition. Years of chronic sun exposure without protection can lead to cataract development. The UV rays of the sun are very damaging to the eye. When out on a sunny day, always wear sunglasses.

FAQ for Cataracts

What is the best treatment for cataracts?
When your prescription glasses can’t clear your vision, the only effective treatment for cataracts is surgery

What causes fast growing cataracts?
Trauma-related cataracts are typically the most fast-growing type of cataracts

What is the average age for cataract surgery?
Average age for cataract surgery is sixty

What foods prevent cataracts?
Healthy eating will prevent cataracts, lots of fruit and veg

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