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A cataract is a loss of transparency or clouding of the normally clear crystalline lens of the eye. This lens is a part of the eye that helps focus light on the retina. It is located behind the iris. With age it becomes harder and leads to difficulty in reading or Presbyopia. As time progresses the lens becomes cloudy and affects vision.

Cataracts are sometimes seen in younger persons due to disease, trauma or drug toxicity. Lens opacities may even occur in infants which may be congenital or due to certain diseases during pregnancy.




What causes Cataracts?

The lens of the eye is located immediately behind the iris and is responsible for 33% of the eye’s focusing power. The cornea is a clear structure at the front of the eye and provides the remaining 67%.

The function of the lens is to provide fine focus, especially up close. The lens changes shape to alter the power of the eye (accommodate) and adjusts focus for near and intermediate objects. At birth it is like jelly but unfortunately with age it gradually hardens and loses its ability to change shape. With further increase in age, the lens continues to harden and starts to become more compact and cloudy, reducing initially quality of vision and later obstructing vision and interfering with day to day activities. A cloudy opaque lens is called a cataract and unfortunately is inevitable should we live long enough.

What are Cataract symptoms?

The typical symptom of cataract formation is a slow, progressive and painless decrease in vision of variable degrees. The loss of transparency of the lens may be so mild that vision is hardly affected, or so severe that no shapes or movements are seen, only light and dark.

Other symptoms are:

  • Blurring of vision
  • Poor night vision
  • Glare, particularly at night
  • Frequent eyeglass prescription change
  • A decrease in colour intensity
  • A yellowing of images
  • Double vision (in rare cases)

Who can be treated?

  • Those with visually significant lens cloudiness
  • People of any age

A comprehensive eye examination including visual acuity test, tonometry (measurement of the pressure inside the eye), pupil dilation, cornea measurements and tests to measure the size of the eye will determine your suitability for the procedure.

How is a cataract treated?

At PNRF, Micro incision phacoemulcification (MICS) is the method of choice for performing cataract surgery in all patients. The basics of the operation involve selecting a replacement lens with your surgeon, who will consider your lifestyle and needs before making a recommendation. The surgery itself takes around 15 minutes (each eye), with your old lens being removed through a micro incision which is done without injection and bandage (Topical Phaco).

A newer technique, Femto laser cataract surgery (FLAC) is also available which has got marginal benefits over MICS.

Can I become completely free of glasses following cataract surgery?

Yes, this is possible if your surgeon uses a multifocal or trifocal intraocular lens. However not all patients are suitable for this option. Your surgeon at PNRF will at the time of consultation advise you whether this type of lens is suitable in your case.