Diseases & Conditions
Like any other part of the body, the eye too is susceptible to disease. Here is a list of conditions that can affect our eyes.
One of the most common causes of blindness, cataract is the clouding of the lens of the eye, and is, in most cases, treatable by surgery. The deposit of pigmentation in the lens, which also alters the structure of the lens fibres, leads to opacity, causing decreased vision.
- The most common cause is aging, which can be compounded by diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.
- Blunt trauma or injury can cause the lens to be damaged, which can result in the lens swelling and then whitening.
- UV-B Radiation, which can be avoided to an extent by wearing sunglasses, has been shown to cause cataract. As has X-ray radiation.
- Heat and electric injuries too may cause the lens to whiten.
- Genetic and chromosomal abnormalities are also associated with cataract.
- Skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis, eczema, ichthyosis, basal-cell nevus and pemphigus are linked with cataract.
- Cigarette smoking and drugs such as corticosteroids, miotics and triparanol may increase the risk of cataract.
Signs and Symptoms
- Reduction in vision.
- Difficulty in distinguishing colours.
- Inability to perceive change in contrast.
- Difficulty in driving, reading, recognising faces.
- Difficulty with or inability to cope with the glare from bright lights.
- In some severe cases, noticeable milkiness or clouding of eye lens.
Diagnosis and Treatment
- Cataracts can be removed at any stage and no longer require ripening of the lens.
- In all types of surgery, the affected lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens.
- Surgery is usually 'outpatient' and performed using local anesthesia. Approximately 90% of patients can achieve corrected vision in varying degrees.
- The post-operative recovery period is usually short, and the patient can move around on the day of surgery, with precaution. The eye is usually patched on the day of surgery and at night an eye shield is recommended for several days.
- The use of UV protective sun-glasses outdoors.
- Using protective eye-gear when working with heat.
- Reduce smoking.
- Eating lutein and zeaxanthin rich food – those that are naturally yellow (yellow carrots, egg yolk, yellow corn, bell peppers etc).