Cataract is one of the most common eye diseases plaguing the number of older people. More specifically, it is a disease of the lens. Some form of cataract is present in the majority of people over 60 years of age.
Pathological changes in the eye lens are usually caused by aging and the main reason is the exposure of the eye to the ultraviolet radiation from the sun. The risk increases in smokers and patients with diabetes. Some forms of the cataract may be genetically determined, i.e. they are congenital. In other cases, the cataract may occur due to eye injury or certain medication (e.g. corticosteroids). The basic problem of cataract is a progressive clouding of the eye lens. The lens helps the light rays get into the eye and reach the retina. Lens disorders therefore reduce the quality of the captured image.
The cataract causes gradually deteriorating eyesight. The affected person sees blurry and the vision may seem like looking through a mist. The color recognition is decreased. Sometimes the affected eye may be affected by double vision. When untreated, the cataract may cause almost total blindness.
The diagnosis is commonly confirmed by an ophthalmologist. The physician performs basic eye examination including the measure of intraocular pressure and ophthalmoscopy. The retina is confirmed to be normal and the problem is located within the lens.
The only effective method of treatment is surgery performed by ophthalmologists. In developed countries it is nowadays a common intervention; which is performed under local anesthesia. The doctor uses an ultrasound device to carefully “crush” the lens (so-called phacoemulsification) and sucks it out with a special device. After that, the doctor implants an artificially-made lens. Of course, special artificial lens is produced for every individual patient to fulfill the desired requirements.