Cataracts in the Elderly, Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Complications

Body Health
Cataracts are an eye disease characterized by rubbing the lens of the eye, making blurred vision. This condition generally occurs in the elderly and can occur in one or both eyes at once. However, cataracts are not a type of infectious disease. The eyepiece is the transparent part behind the pupil (the black spot in the middle of the eye), which serves to focus the light entering through the eye to the retina so that the object can be clearly seen. As we age, the protein in the lens will clot and slowly make the lens cloudy and foggy. This causes the vision to become blurred and unclear. Cataracts are a major cause of blindness in many countries.

Cataract Symptoms in the Elderly

Cataracts generally develop slowly. Initially, patients will not realize there is a visual impairment, because only a small portion of the lens of the eye has cataracts. But over time, the cataract will worsen and bring up the following symptoms:

Cataracts in the Elderly, Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Complications

  • A faint and foggy view.
  • The eyes are more sensitive when they see blinding light.
  • See halos around a light source.
  • Difficult to see clearly at night.
  • Colors look faded or not bright.
  • Double visible objects.
  • The size of the lens of glasses that often changes.

Although cataracts generally do not cause pain in the eyes, patients can feel pain in the eyes, especially if the cataract is severe, or the patient has other disorders of the eye.

  • Causes and Risk Factors of Cataract in the Elderly
  • The process of shaking the lens when experiencing aging is not yet known clearly. However, there are several factors that can increase a person's risk of developing cataracts, including:
  • Eyes that are too often exposed to sunlight.
  • Certain diseases, such as diabetes, inherited retinal damage (retinitis pigmentosa), or inflammation of the middle layer of the eye (uveitis).
  • Long-term corticosteroid consumption.
  • Have had eye surgery.
  • Have experienced eye injuries.
  • Having a family with a history of cataracts.
  • Unhealthy and deficient eating patterns.
  • Consumption of large amounts of alcoholic beverages regularly.
  • Smoking.

Diagnosis of cataracts in the elderly

To get a diagnosis of cataract, the ophthalmologist will ask about the history of the disease and what symptoms the patient has. Then, the doctor will do an examination of the patient's eye, followed by investigations such as:

  • Visual acuity test. In this test, patients will be asked to read letters in a distance of 6 meters using one eye, where at the same time the other eye will be closed. The letters displayed will get smaller so the patient cannot read them clearly.
  • Slit-lamp inspection. A slit-lamp examination uses a special microscope equipped with light to illuminate the lens, iris, and cornea of the eye. This light will help doctors see abnormalities in the eye more clearly.
  • Examination of the eye retina. Performed by giving eye drops to make the pupil enlarge. With the help of a special tool called an ophthalmoscope, the doctor will more easily see the condition of the retina.

Treatment of Cataracts in the Elderly

Cataract surgery is the only treatment for cataracts in the elderly. But the decision to undergo surgery considers the disruption of daily activities or not, such as driving a vehicle or reading.

In cataract surgery, cloudy lenses will be removed and replaced with artificial lenses. This artificial lens is made of plastic or silicone and can be used for a lifetime. Whereas in conditions where artificial lenses cannot be installed, patients must wear glasses or contact lenses after cataract surgery to improve vision.

Cataract surgery is performed under local anesthesia so that the eyes become numb, and usually without hospitalization. Discomfort in the eye is generally felt up to several days after surgery. In patients with cataracts in both eyes, surgery is carried out separately until the patient recovers from the first operation, which is about 6-12 weeks.

Cataract Complications in the Elderly

Cataract surgery is a safe operation. However, there is still a risk of bleeding and infection after cataract surgery, although rarely. Another risk that may occur after the surgery is retinal detachment, which is the condition of the retinal detachment from its normal position. This condition can result in partial or complete loss of vision. Call your doctor immediately if retinal detachment symptoms appear, such as the appearance of black spots that appear to float after cataract surgery.

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