An Introduction to Cataracts

Topics: Ophthalmology, Cataract, Cataract surgery Pages: 6 (1985 words) Published: January 2, 2012
Cataracts will affect almost everyone’s vision at some point in their life. Some people may be able to deal with the cataracts with glasses while others must have cataract surgery in order to improve their vision. The paper explains what a cataract is, who it affects, the development of cataract surgery leading to modern day surgical techniques, as well as the possible complications and benefits after cataract surgery. There was once a time that cataracts caused people to become what they considered blind, but now with modern technology and modern medicine people have the ability to proceed with their life with just minor adjustments to their daily activities.

An Introduction to Cataracts and Cataract Surgery
Everyone has different vision, and everyone has different points in their life where they may notice their vision changing. One major medical condition that can affect a person’s vision is a cataract. It is important to understand what a cataract is and who it commonly impacts, the development of cataract surgery leading to the modern surgical technique, and the possible complications and benefits of having cataract surgery. What is a Cataract and Who is Commonly Impacted?

A cataract, simply put, is the cloudiness of the clear natural lens in the eye (Buettner, p. 101). People who have cataracts have trouble seeing sharp figures, often times the objects they see are fuzzy or dim. The cataracts do not form suddenly but progress and get more advanced with time. The natural proteins of the lens begin to deteriorate between the age of 40 and 45 (Newmark, 38). People with cataracts often have trouble driving, difficulty reading, and even trouble seeing expressions on other’s faces. Cataracts can also cause extreme trouble with sensitivity to sunlight and headlights or streetlights (p. 101). Cataracts occur with the normal aging sclerosis, as the lens becomes less resilient, less transparent, and thicker (Gordon, p. 50). In The Eye Book cataracts are compared to wrinkles and gray hair, eventually it is something everyone will get. It just isn’t acknowledged until someone has a lot of the above mentioned gray hair and wrinkles (Cassel, p. 128). Most Americans by the age of 65 have some type of cataracts or clouding of the lens. According to the National Eye Institute, cataracts occur in roughly half of Americans aged 65 and over (Gordon, p. 49). Certain factors can also increase the risk for developing cataracts. The factors include: advanced age, diabetes, a family history of cataracts, extensive exposure to sunlight, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, previous eye injury or inflammation or swelling to the eye (American Academy of Ophthalmology, p. 1). Cataracts are also found to be more present in women than in men, more common in African Americans than in Caucasians, and more common in developing countries along the tropical belt than in the United States and Europe (Cassel, p. 132). A recent study also showed that poor nutrition also increased the percentage of cataract formation (Guttman, p.1). The formation of cataracts can also be advanced by the use of corticosteroid use and excessive alcohol consumption (Buettner, p. 106). It is also worth mentioning that occasionally children can be born with cataracts or develop them at a very young age, this is called a Congenital cataract. This can be caused by the mother having German measles during pregnancy, due to a chemical imbalance, or a developmental imbalance. These cataracts are removed quickly if they are determined to be affecting the child’s vision (p. 106). If a person truly feels that they do not see to their full potential then it is in their best interest to consult with their ophthalmologist and have their vision evaluated to see if surgery would be beneficial. What is the Process of Cataract Surgery?

Once the patient decides they are ready to pursue cataract surgery a few steps need to be taken. The patient will...
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