The newsLINK Group - Cataract Awareness

Editorial Library Category: Health Topics: Cataracts Title: Cataract Awareness Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Someone who has a cataract has an eye lens that has become cloudy enough to affect that person’s ability to see. In most cases, cataract development is part of the aging process, although in some cases people are born with a congenital cataract. Editorial: Cataract Awareness 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Someone who has a cataract has an eye lens that has become cloudy enough to affect that person’s ability to see. In most cases, cataract development is part of the aging process, although in some cases people are born with a congenital cataract. Congenital Cataracts In most cases, congenital cataracts are usually diagnosed soon after birth. The more cases that are detected the better, because an infant with an undetected congenital cataract may become permanently blind. Not all congenital cataracts are a problem, however: small cataracts and cataracts in the anterior part of the lens or in the periphery may not affect vision at all. Congenital cataracts that do affect vision are usually defined as being unilateral or bilateral. A unilateral cataract is usually associated with some kind of ocular abnormality, trauma, or an intrauterine infection such as rubella. Possible ocular abnormalities that can cause unilateral cataracts include: Anterior segment dysgenesis Persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous Posterior lenticonus Posterior pole tumors A bilateral cataract is often inherited. It is also associated with other diseases. The most common causes are: Hypoglycemia Myotonic dystrophy Premature birth The infectious diseases identified by the TORCH acronym (toxoplasmosis; other diseases such as syphilis, varicella, mumps, parvovirus, and HIV; rubella, cytomegalovirus, and herpes simplex). When a baby has been exposed to these diseases in the uterus, they can cause congenital conditions. However, herpes simplex is general acquired during delivery instead of during gestation. Trisomy (for example, Down, Edward, and Patau syndromes) Age-Related Cataracts More than 20 million people living in the U.S. who are older than 40 have developed cataracts. Some experts estimate that by 2020, more than 30 million U.S. citizens will have a cataract that is visually significant; as a result of treatment, 9.5 million will have an artificial intraocular lens (which is called pseudophakia) or will have no lens at all (a state called aphakia). Cataract development is one of the main reasons why people go blind throughout the world. Cataracts can be (and frequently are) treated surgically, although most people do not require surgery. A cataract can also lead to other eye problems. Cataract symptoms include the following: Difficulty seeing in dim light or at night Diminished color intensity Double vision Halos around lights Problems seeing different color shades or distinguishing shapes against a background Sensitivity to glare Vision that can be described as cloudy, filmy, foggy, or fuzzy A Brief History of Cataract Surgery Cataract surgery has been dated to ancient Egypt, when someone buried copper needle knives in the Upper Egypt tomb of King Khasekhemwy about 2700 B.C. The operation consisted of inserting a flat needle knife into the edge of the cornea. The needle would then push the lens away from where it was supported behind the iris into the vitreous gel. The result, of course, would be poor, unfocused vision that wasn’t good for much but was better than being blind. They were not the only ancient people to take a knife to people’s eyes. Around 2000 B.C., Japanese surgeons used needle knives and narrow gold tubes to suck out cataracts.

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