Cataract treatment is something that has been developed over three centuries until it has its current level of sophistication and it is continually improving towards better methods of treatment for the condition.
The Cataract is an undesirable eye condition which affects a large percentage of the elderly around the world, and can lead to partial and / or complete blindness if not treated properly. Surgery remains the core of cataract treatment and is used in a majority of the cases but there are other potentially more effective methods of treatment that have been developed.
Understanding the Condition – Cataract Treatment
In order to fully understand the treatment of cataract, one must have a complete understanding on what the condition is and how it takes effect. Although the exact root cause still remains unknown, it is clear that the immediate cause is a change in the properties of the proteins which make up a significant part of the eye lens.
As the eye ages, its protein begin to clump together and whether this is a natural and inevitable sign of aging or a result of an unhealthy lifestyle is still a matter of debate. There are even some practitioners of natural medicine who claim that this condition is caused by the gradual accumulation of toxins in the body as the person ages.
This is similar to the theory that a lot of common joint problems like arthritis and rheumatism are caused by the body’s inability to absorb the chemicals and unnatural substances found in processed food. There may be a truth in these theories as the symptoms they are claiming develop over the decades, carrying out a test to acquire accurate results still proves to be a challenge.
It is clear though that the cataract develops and becomes more observable and debilitating over time. The old restriction of it being inoperable in its early stages no longer applies today due to modern operational techniques.
Once you know that you have one or more cataracts developing in your eyes, treatments can begin immediately. This, however, does not mean that the person is immediately recommended for surgery. It can mean a change in your lifestyle such as eating a better diet, detoxifying the body, or starting an exercise regime.
This approach is recommended by natural medicine practitioners. There are also newly developed eye drop treatments which serve as a potentially better (if not, less costly) alternative to eye surgery. Most of these treatments are too new for any extensive testing to be carried out but there is potential in them.
As for now, surgery will still be the most straightforward approach in treating cataracts both in highly developed and developing countries. The standard surgical operations are steadily being replaced more sophisticated and superior techniques in the western world, the basic procedures still remain the same as it was in its early days and is still practiced in developing countries. A large incision is made into the affected eye lens, and the cataract is removed from the lens through suction.
Phacoemulsification has long replaced this technique in the western world. This modern technique consists of using a needle that vibrates in ultrasonic frequency to remove the cataract while replacing the affected eye lens with an intraocular lens implant (or IOL).
Though not fundamentally different from early removal techniques, it greatly improves the safety of the operation and post-treatment as a smaller incision is used and the need for anesthetics is reduced. Surgery always involves risk and it will always do, but this Modern technique puts the risk at the lowest possible level.
After the operation, patients can return immediately to their normal daily routine, albeit on a more cautious pace and lighter workload so as to reduce strain for the newly operated eye.
Post-Treatment: Complications and Remedy
After the removal of the cataract, the patient has to be continuously monitored for any possible complications that may arise after surgery. One of these is Dislocated Intraocular Lenses.
If the patient underwent Phacoemulsification, there may be a possibility that the IOL may be incorrectly positioned and the patient may experience seeing the edge of the implant or worse; double vision in which the image projected to the eye will be distorted due to the malpositioned lens.
This can be remedied by undergoing a second operation in which the implant will be repositioned and, to prevent another dislocation, sown in place. This must be corrected immediately so as to prevent “scarring” in which the implant embeds itself to the eyes three months after surgery and will be much more difficult to reposition, thus causing gashes along the eye’s membrane once surgery is performed.
Of all the possible complications, however, the most extreme would be After-Cataract or Secondary Cataract which can be frightening to anyone who has no knowledge about this condition.
This is where the remaining muscle in the lens became opaque and cloudy; giving the patient an impression that another cataract is developing right where the previous one was removed. This, however, is not a true cataract, as they do not return once removed, and this can be corrected with a simple laser surgery where a minute incision is performed and is generally painless. After treatment, patients can be discharged immediately once the problem is solved.
The treatment of cataracts needs to continue to evolve and become more effective. One much needed improvement is to extend the Phacoemulsification Technique to other developing countries in which the older and riskier removal methods are still being practiced, and to improve the standard of the IOL implanted in the eye.
One flaw of the implant lens is that it does not have the ability to adjust according the user’s eye specifications and a majority of the patients are forced to use corrective lenses to see clearly. The next level in the improvement of cataract treatment clearly is the development of new, adaptable IOL lenses that improves instead of hindering a patient’s vision after treatment.