Cataracts

Cataracts:  is a gradually developing opacity of the lens or lens capsule of the eye.  It is one of the common cause of vision loss.  Cataracts commonly occur bilaterally, with each progressing independently.  Traumatic cataracts, which are usually unilateral, and congenital cataracts, which can remain stationary.  Cataracts usually affects patients over the age of 70, as part of aging.  Surgery improves vision in 95% of affected persons.

Causes:  Senile cataracts develop in the elderly, probably due to changes in the chemical state of lens proteins.  Congenital cataracts occur in newborns as genetic defects or as a result of maternal rubella during the first trimester.  Traumatic cataracts develop after a foreign body injures the lens with sufficient force to allow fluid (aqueous or vitreous humor) to enter the lens capsule.  Complicated cataracts usually occur secondary to uveitis, glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, or detached retina.  They can also occur in the course of a systemic disease, such as; diabetes, hypoparathyroidism, or atopic dermatitis. Toxic cataracts result from drug or chemical toxicity.

Symptoms:

Painless, gradual blurring and loss of vision

As progression, the pupil whitens.

Patient will complain of having the appearance of halos around lights, blinding glare from headlights at night, and glare and poor vision in bright sunlight.

Treatment:

Surgical extraction of the opaque lens and postoperative correction of visual deficits. (usually a one day procedure)

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