A cataract is the loss of transparency of the lens , which is a natural lens that is immediately behind the pupil. In a young and healthy person, the lens is transparent and elastic, that transparency allows the rays of light to pass through it, forming the images in the retina . While the elasticity turns the crystalline lens into a multifocal lens, able to focus according to the distance of the objects we look at, similar to the operation of the objective of a camera.
Over the years the crystalline lens loses elasticity and presbyopia appears or commonly called: tired eyesight , which is corrected with glasses close up. When what is lost is transparency -the crystalline- we call it cataracts and the clear passage of light is not allowed to the retina, losing vision progressively. The cataract can not be corrected with glasses and eye drops , which supposedly slow down evolution, have not proven to be effective.
The only treatment for cataracts is surgery, removing the opaque lens and replacing it with an artificial lens (intraocular lens).
When the cataract is forming, blurred vision appears and sometimes double vision. Some cataracts cause a paradoxical situation, it is better seen on cloudy days than on sunny days, or the glasses are no longer needed up close. It also becomes difficult to drive at night, in most cases, and often repeated changes are required in the graduation of your glasses.
As the cataract progresses, the vision diminishes and can reach blindness if it is not treated at the right time, it can even affect the contralateral eye if the cataract ruptures with the release of its intra-sacral contents. In these cases appears a very serious picture known as: sympathetic ophthalmia .
When do you have to operate
If the decrease in vision interferes with the patient's usual activities, it is time to operate. Another situation in which surgery can be indicated is when the ophthalmologist appreciates an increase in intraocular pressure or other complications related to the advancement of cataracts, in these cases, even if the patient has a certain degree of vision that allows them to perform their usual activity the most advisable is the extraction of the cataract.
Formerly the cataracts were not operated until the patient was practically blind, but this has changed and now this attitude not only does not make sense, but it can entail risks since the intervention of a highly evolved cataract is, in general, more complicated, increasing the risks of surgery.
On some occasions, we recommend lens surgery with a mainly refractive objective: in presbyopic and myopic or high hyperopic patients, lens surgery with intraocular lens implant not only allows them to improve their vision, but at the same time, allows them to dispense with your glasses or contact lenses.