With age, vision can drop to such an extent that a person ceases to see completely. This is often due to eye disease, which affects more than 50% of older people - cataracts. Causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention - something that everyone needs to know, especially those whose age is approaching 60 years of age or has already passed the line.
Cataract - what hides behind the terrible medical term?
A cataract is an eye disease in which the complete or partial clouding of the lens occurs. It is located inside the eyeball and acts as a natural lens, that is, it transmits and refracts light rays.
At a young age, the lens is completely transparent. Possessing high elasticity, it changes shape easily and quickly in order to focus the image. Therefore, a person equally clearly sees objects that are located close and at a considerable distance. If the lens becomes cloudy, the image becomes fuzzy, blurry.
Most often, cataracts are diagnosed in people over 60 years of age, but this disease, although rare, can also occur in young people. The disease affects one or both eyes.
Varieties and degrees of cataracts
There are 2 types of cataracts:
- congenital. The child is born already with a clouded lens;
Depending on the main factor causing the disease, a cataract can be:
- complicated - develops as a result of complications of other eye diseases;
- traumatic - a consequence of mechanical damage to the eye;
- radiation - exposure to x-ray or infrared rays;
- toxic - it is caused by certain drugs or chemicals (mercury);
- endocrine. It is found in patients with diabetes mellitus, with metabolic disorders.
According to where the turbidity is localized, these types of cataracts are said:
- total (complete clouding of the lens);
- front (back) polar;
- nuclear (the lens begins to lose transparency from the central part);
- cortical. Opacification is localized on the periphery of the lens, the disease has a more favorable prognosis;
- subcapsular. Vision falls very quickly (in 2-3 months);
- layered - alternate turbid and transparent layers.
Depending on the stage, there are 4 degrees of the disease:
- initial - a slight decrease in vision;
- immature - vision drops by more than 10%;
- mature - a person sees only light;
- overripe. Spontaneous resorption of the lens may occur.
What can cause a cataract: complications
If the cataract is detected late or the treatment is not carried out, then the vision begins to fall at a rapid rate. Blurring captures an increasing area and extends to the lens capsule.
Running a cataract leads to changes in all layers of the lens, as a result, a person sees only the light and does not distinguish objects at all. The lens becomes a gray shapeless mass and can not perform its functions.
Changes are not only about vision. The presence of a cataract can be seen in the appearance of the eye: the pupil becomes grayish or spotty, and then becomes almost white.
Why the lens becomes cloudy: the causes of cataracts
One of the factors on which the symptoms and treatment of cataracts depend is the reasons why the disease arose.
Congenital cataract due to genetic disorders. Often it is caused by incompatibility due to the Rh factor or the fact that during pregnancy a woman suffered rubella (in the first trimester), took alcohol or birth control pills.
Acquired cataracts are caused by such factors:
- elderly age. In people over 60, cataracts are found 3 times more often;
- genetic predisposition. If there are cases of cataract in the genus, the risk of its occurrence increases dramatically;
- chronic diseases - glaucoma, diabetes, retinal detachment;
- eye injuries and burns;
- alcoholism, smoking;
- adverse environmental conditions;
- radiation and UV radiation;
- poisoning toxins.
Symptoms of the disease at different stages
The main characteristic symptom of cataracts is blurred vision. His fall is accompanied by pain. A person sees the world around him as if through a muddy veil. The contours of objects become fuzzy. Then there are other manifestations of the disease:
- a drop in visual acuity leads to the fact that it becomes difficult for a person to perform his usual work - read, sew, etc .;
- dots or dashes begin to flash before your eyes;
- the image is split or a yellowish halo appears around it;
- there is increased sensitivity to light (photophobia);
- the patient begins to distinguish colors poorly.
If the clouding has spread to the entire lens, the color perception is completely disturbed, and then the person practically ceases to see.
Main cataract diagnostic methods
If there are characteristic complaints, special diagnostics are carried out, which will allow to identify the cataract and determine its degree. One of the main diagnostic procedures - visometry - checking visual acuity using a table or projector signs.
A reliable method is biomicroscopy - an eye examination with a slit lamp. A beam of light is focused on the lens, which leads to the formation of an optical cut. So the doctor can see the smallest deviations in its structure.
Also carried out inspection of the retina with dilated pupil.
Surgical treatment of cataracts and its effectiveness
Regardless of the cause, a cataract (if the symptoms are confirmed by diagnostics, and prevention is already useless) has one treatment - this is a surgical operation. The natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial one.
Several types of operations are used:
- extracapsular extraction - the posterior lens capsule is maintained. Plus - there is a barrier between the outer segment of the eye and the vitreous body. Minus - the trauma of the cornea; possible complication - film cataract;
- intracapsular extraction (not performed until 18 years). The lens is removed along with the capsule. The film cataract does not develop, but hemorrhages and vascular damage are possible;
- ultrasonic lens fragmentation (cataract phacoemulsification). Low traumatic method, well tolerated by patients, rehabilitation lasts a short time. Apply local drip anesthesia. Complications occur in just 1-1.5% of patients;
- Laser phacoemulsification is the most affordable way to treat a cataract. Operation (reviews confirm the opinion of experts) is the most gentle method.
Patients with cataracts, whom the operation helped to restore vision (even in the case when the vision dropped to almost 0%), speak very well of it. They note that the replacement of the lens is a practically painless procedure, and it does not last long (approximately 15 minutes). The postoperative period causes more difficulties. It is necessary to strictly follow the doctor's orders - to bury his eyes every 2 hours and limit activity.
After surgery, vision is restored to such a level that people can even read without glasses. Complications usually arise in the event that the intervention was carried out in a hospital where there is no modern equipment or doctors have not yet gained experience.
How to treat cataracts without surgery: drug therapy and folk remedies
It is impossible to cure cataracts with medicines. The conservative method can be used only in the initial stages of the disease to slow down its development. Drug treatment is based on the use of eye drops - Tauphone, Vice, Vitafacol, Vitiodurol. Their composition includes components that affect the metabolism in the lens. The exception is Quinax. It is capable of dissolving lens proteins, which have already lost their transparency.
In the national first aid kit there are many tools available to combat cataracts. You can prepare such healing compositions:
- honey water for rinsing eyes: dissolve 1 tsp. honey in 200 g of water, boil for 5 minutes;
- drops: 1 egg (homemade with a dark-colored shell) boil on low heat for 10 minutes. Then cut without removing the shell. Remove the yolk. Fill the protein with honey and leave for a day. The resulting composition is poured into a glass container. Instill 1-2 drops three times a day. Keep in the fridge;
- decoction: Mix 1 part thyme, cornflower and blueberry leaves. 1 tbsp. l mix pour 300 ml of boiled water and boil for 2 minutes. Strain. Drink before meals 100 g three times a day.
Can a cataract be cured by such methods? Treatment of folk remedies, according to doctors, is ineffective. They recommend not to delay the time, but rather to undergo an examination.
Prevention - a myth or a way to avoid cataracts?
Today there is no evidence that any preventive measures are 100% cataract insurance. Somewhat reduce the likelihood of developing the disease can the observance of such rules:
- wear sunglasses;
- eat right and lead a healthy lifestyle;
- exclude smoking;
- diabetes control sugar levels;
- do not get involved in antidepressants, anti-allergic and contraceptive drugs;
- follow the weight.
Medicine has long had technologies that help to overcome cataracts. Therefore, it is especially annoying when a person loses his sight due to neglect of his health and late appealing to an optometrist. In order for the color world not to turn into a black void due to blindness, it is necessary to visit a doctor for preventive examinations and make an appointment even with a slight decrease in vision.