Cataracts are one of the most common eye conditions, and contrary to popular belief, they can affect people of various age groups. We’ve consulted experts in ophthalmology to delve into this condition and discuss effective treatments.

What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts involve the clouding of the crystalline lens, the lens responsible for focusing images on the retina. This lens is behind the pupil, between the vitreous body and the iris. In contrast to common misconceptions, cataracts can impact not only the elderly but also individuals in the adult age group (starting from around 45 years of age). Since cataracts develop gradually but progressively, early recognition enables experts to assess their progression and consider potential surgical interventions. Regular eye examinations are crucial for this purpose.

The process of lens clouding can manifest in different types of cataracts, including cortical, nuclear, or subcapsular, and it progresses through increasing opacity. Various factors, such as the anatomical characteristics of the patient’s eyeball, conditions like myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism, and any concurrent ocular and systemic diseases, can help differentiate cataracts and determine the most suitable treatment.

Risk Factors for Cataracts

Besides age, certain situations elevate the risk of developing cataracts, including:

  • Family history of cataracts.
  • Inadequate protection of the eyes from UV rays.
  • Presence of other eye diseases, such as glaucoma or uveitis.
  • Eye or head injuries.
  • Diabetes.
  • Prolonged use of medications, such as cortisone.

Cataract Surgery

Thanks to technological advancements, cataract surgery can now use robotic-assisted systems that offer remarkable precision while maintaining normal ocular conditions, including intraocular pressure, during the procedure. During cataract surgery, small surgical instruments are employed to break down the cloudy lens using an ultrasound microprobe. Any residual fragments are removed using a specific device, and an artificial intraocular lens is implanted through a micro-incision. The lens unfolds within the eye and takes on the desired shape without suturing. The surgery is conducted under topical anesthesia with eye drops applied directly to the eye.

Recovery After Surgery

Recovery after cataract surgery is usually relatively swift, spanning from 2 to 10 days, contingent on the extent of cataract progression and the patient’s postoperative response. However, risk factors such as pseudoexfoliation syndrome, Fuch’s syndrome, or other pathologies can influence the recovery duration. Adherence to recommended hygiene practices and strict compliance with prescribed postoperative therapy are vital for the procedure’s success.