A cataract is a cloudiness or opacification in the normally clear and transparent lens of the eye. When significant, this clouding interferes with the passage of light to the retina and blurs vision.
How Cataract Affects Your Vision
Inside your eye, behind the iris and pupil is a lens. In a normal eye, this lens is clear. It helps focus light rays on to the back of the eye (the retina), which sends messages to the brain allowing us to see.
When cataract develops, the lens becomes cloudy and prevents the light rays from passing on to the retina. The picture that the retina receives becomes dull and fuzzy.
Cataract usually forms slowly and most people experience a gradual blurring of vision.
Causes of Cataract
Most forms of cataract develop in adult life. The normal process of ageing causes the lens to harden and become cloudy. This is called age-related cataract and it is the most common type. It can occur at any time after the age of 40.
Although most cataracts are age-related, there are other types, including congenital (present at birth), drug-induced (steroids), and traumatic (injury to the eye). Cataract is also more common in people who have certain diseases such as diabetes.
Treatment of Cataract
Surgery is the only way to treat cataract. Surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL).
No-Blade Cataract Surgery
No-blade cataract surgery, also known as femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery (FLACS) uses a femtosecond laser (a powerful light beam) to assist in removing the cataract.
Phacoemulsification is a modern surgical method which uses an ultrasonic probe to break up the cataract.