What is Cataract?
Cataract is the opacification of the natural human lens. Additionally, this opacification will lead to a thickening of the lens and therefore the anterior chamber of the eye will be reduced.
How will your eye doctor diagnose a cataract?
Your eye doctor can check the lens during a regular/ routine appointment by using a special microscope (slit lamp). Usually the pupil will be dilated for this examination, so the whole structure of the lens can be evaluated. Giving the patient a postoperative prognosis of his visual ability, some further examinations are necessary before undergoing surgery. Additionally, we will explain to you all different intraocular lenses.
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What is the lens?
The natural lens inside the human eye is located behind the iris & the pupil. It is supported by multiple suspensory ligaments. The lens consists of crystalline, a special kind of protein. This protein is clear at the early age of life, but metabolic processes change it over time and lead to opacification. The lens is surrounded by a capsule, which gives it the typical form. The lens does not consist of any blood vessels or nerve fibres, which means that the lens is naturally transparent.
What is the human lens responsible for?
The lens is responsible for the process of focusing and refraction. On this occasion it has the capacity to change its form for better focusing at near distances (like the lens of a camera). This ability is called accommodation. By aging, the hardening of the crystalline lens increases, so the result is a decrease in accommodation power, which is called presbyopia.
How does the patient notice a cataract?
Less light will pass the lens, caused by opacification of the proteins in the lens. The more light is blocked, the less light is getting through to the retina, which results to insufficient projection of an image. Patients will become easily dazzled by bright lights, colors seem faded, poor night vision, cloudy or blurry vision, double vision, etc.
The progression of cataract is in every patient individual. The first opacification starts very slightly at the age of 30 and progresses very slowly. Cataract is seen in very few exceptional cases in younger ages and newborns (juvenile cataract). In such cases, the cataract surgery should be performed earlier. Some forms of cataract result in progressive myopia. The patient observes a better reading in near distance without glasses. This situation is only for a short period of time and results in very poor vision.