Fortunately, cataract surgery
been able to overcome this problem. Surgeries are now routinely done with
minimal hospital stay and complications. A recently published paper pooled data
from different studies to find out if age-related cataract and the surgery for
it were associated with an increase in mortality long term.
The researchers found that age-related
cataract was found to be associated with an increase in the long-term mortality.
This was true for all
types of age-related cataract but particularly significant for nuclear
cataract. Thus, it may be possible to correlate the appearance of cataract at
an older age with other illnesses that can reduce the life span of a patient. For
example, nuclear cataract may be a result of reduced antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants
are also necessary for other organ functions including that of the brain. Thus,
a reduction in antioxidant levels could affect brain function and contribute to
increase in mortality. Other forms of cataract
, that is, cortical and posterior
subcapsular cataract were also associated with increased mortality but to a
lesser extent than nuclear cataract.
However, after patients had undergone cataract
surgery, the researchers found that the risk of long-term mortality was not
increased. This could be due to the fact that after cataract surgery, people
tend to be more aware and take better care of their health. They may also have
better access to health care facilities.
This study thus emphasizes the importance of
regular eye examination in older individuals to detect cataract.
Early detection of
cataract could lead to early surgery, which may subsequently play a role in increasing
the lifespan of the patient.
Facts about Cataract
- Cataract occurs due to clouding
of the lens of the eye.
- Though commonly associated with
old age, cataract can also affect the young. In fact, some children suffer from
cataract from birth, a condition which is called congenital cataract.
- Diabetes and smoking predisposes
an individual to developing cataract.
- Foods rich in antioxidants like
green leafy vegetables and fruit may help to delay cataract.
- Other eye problems that may
affect vision should be ruled out before undergoing cataract surgery to ensure
success of the surgery.
Cataract Surgery - Procedure
Surgery is an effective way to treat cataract that affects vision.
During surgery, the affected lens is removed and is replaced by an artificial
clear lens. Common procedures used in cataract surgery are as below:
- Phacoemulsification is a procedure
where the lens is softened and is removed by suction. This procedure can be
done with a small surgical incision.
- Extracapsular surgery involves
removal of the cloudy part of the lens in one piece. The incision required for
this procedure is longer than that required for phacoemulsification.
- Laser cataract surgery uses a laser
to make the incision and soften the lens. Recovery may be faster with this type
Cataract Surgery - Complications
Cataract surgery is a very safe surgery especially
when performed by an experienced eye surgeon. Possible complications of
cataract surgery are:
- Poor vision which may be due to
the surgery, or the presence of another eye problem that was not detected prior
to the surgery.
- Inflammation in the eye
- Changes in intraocular pressure
- After-cataract, which occurs due
to cloudiness of the tissue enclosing the lens