Cataract (cataract)

Cataract is typical in old age. From the age of 65, almost everyone can notice a clouding of the eye lens. The cataract surgery is the most common operation in Germany and worldwide - in Germany alone, it is performed by 500, 000 times a year. Complications are rare in a cataract surgery.

What is the cataract?

The turbidity of the eye lens is called a cataract or cataract. To understand the meaning of this disease, one must become aware of the task of the lens: it lies behind the cornea and divides the eye into anterior and posterior chamber. When light falls through the iris on the lens, it is broken here and directed to the retina.

The lens is usually soft and transparent and can be changed in diameter by small muscles - depending on whether we want to look near or far. The lens is nourished by the so-called aqueous humor, but the nutrient supply deteriorates with increasing age, so that from the 65th Age of almost every man can detect a slight lens opacification.

Cataract: causes

Age and decreasing power of the lens are the most common causes of cataracts. However, if someone has a metabolic disorder such as diabetes, more infrared (glass blowers!) Or ultraviolet radiation (sunbathing without sunglasses!) Is exposed or had an eye injury, the likelihood that develops early on a cataract.

How does the name come about?

The name "cataract" comes from the fact that the heavily clouded lens assumes a gray color and the person concerned gets a rigid look because of the deterioration of vision.

The term "cataract" on the other hand means "waterfall" in Greek or Latin - it used to be thought that the gray lens color was coagulated liquid.

In addition to the gray, there is also the green Star: This is an increase in intraocular pressure. This disease is also called glaucoma. Both diseases usually have nothing to do with each other.

Cataracts: symptoms and signs

When the lens is only slightly clouded, the vision decreases almost imperceptibly. However, with increasing severity of lens opacification, vision loss becomes more pronounced.

Cataract symptoms can be expressed as follows:

  • Colors and contrasts are blurred
  • everything fades and you have the feeling of seeing through a fog
  • The eye is sensitive to glare, because the clouded lens scatters the incident light unevenly

Often both eyes are affected. So, if you're not quite young, you're starting to look inferior or dazzled at dusk or driving, consider the possibility that you may develop a cataract.

Cataract: diagnosis and diagnostics

The ophthalmologist can accurately illuminate the eye lens with the slit lamp. With this examination device, the lens can be magnified, distinguish the individual layers of the lens and see in which lens area the turbidity lies.

Cataract: surgery for treatment

Unfortunately, neither drops nor tablets help against lens opacification. To restore vision, the tarnished, "blind" lens must be surgically removed.

This operation is already known as "Starstich" in ancient Egyptian records. The lens was pushed into the posterior chamber, the vitreous, with a pointed object - often resulting in infection and blindness. Even with successful outcome, the vision was restored to a limited extent - because the refractive medium lens was not replaced.

In the 18th century, a new technique developed in which the clouded lens was removed from its capsule. It was initially not possible to replace the lens, and the change between near and far sight was compensated with strong glasses.

Help with an artificial lens

Since circa 1960, the operation has replaced the natural lens with an artificial one. The artificial lens is made individually, because it should have the same refractive power as the old lens.

The modern lenses are usually made of Plexiglas or silicone - and it is even possible to use a multifocal lens, which has several focal points: So even the reading glasses can be superfluous!

At what time you perform the surgery depends entirely on how much you are limited by your dwindling eyesight in your everyday life.

Cataract surgery: Complications rare

The complication rate of cataract surgery is very low and many routine physicians offer to perform the operation on an outpatient basis. The operation is usually performed under local anesthesia, it rarely lasts longer than a quarter of an hour. Today, extracapsular lens removal is usually done, meaning that the lens capsule remains in the eye.

The capsule is opened with a small cut and the old lens is liquefied and sucked by ultrasound, this process is called phacoemulsification. In the capsule, the new artificial lens is used. This leaves the natural boundary between the anterior and posterior chamber of the eye.

Cataract OP and the consequences

After the operation, there are several rules of conduct to follow:

  • Do not push or rub on the operated eye. Only after several months is your eye resilient again.
  • TV is allowed immediately, longer reading only after a few days.
  • No eye contact with soap and water in the first three weeks. Wash your hair with your head tilted backwards.
  • When you leave the house, protect the eye against sun and wind with protective bandage and sunglasses!
  • Wear a protective bandage at night during the first few weeks so that you do not rub your eye unconsciously.
  • Do not lift or carry heavy objects during the first few weeks. Bending is only allowed with the upper body and head upright.
  • Only do sports again if your doctor gives his OK.

How to prevent?

Since the lens opacification is a natural aging phenomenon, one can only try to avoid additional risk factors such as strong sunlight. So it's worth investing in good UV protection sunglasses!

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