What are cataracts in the eyes?

The lens is a kind of lens that, as its name infers, is completely transparent, which allows the light rays that pass to the retina to be focused to see objects clearly. Over time, the proteins that make up the lens break down and cause it to become opaque, causing blurred vision, a condition known as cataracts.

These develop progressively and without causing painHowever, as the lens loses its transparency, the symptoms become evident. Most people present a certain degree of opacity in the lens from the age of 65, which is why this condition has become one of the main causes of vision loss in the world. If you want to know more about them, in Área Oftalmológica Avanzada We will tell you all about them.

Causes of cataracts in the eyes

The main cause of cataracts in the eyes is the aging; however, this condition it can also occur in children, which is why to properly explain its causes it is important to know the variants of this condition and its risk factors.

The most common causes of cataract formation are:

  • Diseases like diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
  • Medication consumption steroids, hormonal therapy and drugs for the treatment of high cholesterol.
  • Old age
  • eye surgery, high or magna myopiaeye inflammation.
  • Exposure to ultraviolet rays.
  • Trauma
  • Family background of falls.
  • Smoking and alcoholism.

Cataracts in adults

different types of cataracts whose classification varies depending on the age at which they originate, the area in which they appear or pathologies associated with it.

Types of cataracts in adults

Let's see the types that exist according to the severity of the cataract. These are the main ones:

immature cataract

It is the mildest type. They usually develop over the years, but they differ from the rest because the lens still retains transparency in some of its parts. By having some clear parts, all the symptoms have not yet developed.  It is estimated that 50% of those over 65 and 70% of those over 75 have some type of opacity in the lens, this being the most common. 

mature cataract

In this type, the crystalline has lost all its transparency and the main cause is the aging. It develops when the immature cataract has not been treated, since the lens becomes opaque over the years. The mature cataract brings a completely cloudy or even opaque vision.

Hypermature cataracts

Is maximum deterioration of the lens as a consequence of ageing. In this type of condition, the crystalline, besides being totally opaque, presents a liquid layer that filters to other parts of the eye and cause inflammation. In addition to inflaming the area, it causes irritation in other structures of the eye, which can cause glaucoma. These symptoms join the symptoms that the mature cataract has already caused as it is completely opaque.

infantile cataracts

In addition to adult cataracts, there are pediatric or infantile cataracts. These are the ones that appear in children and apparently are the same as in adults, since the opacity of the lens has also occurred. 

However, they are more dangerous if left untreated, since the vision is still in development. If proper treatment is not carried out before the age of 10, that is, before the end of vision development, long-term vision problems will appear. Furthermore, permanent vision loss may even occur. 

In addition, the causes of pediatric cataracts are totally different to those of adults. They can be congenital (at birth) or acquired (appear in childhood), in addition to affecting one or two eyes symmetrically or asymmetrically. Let's take a closer look at these causes.

genetic cataracts

La congenital cataract are those that they are transmitted to the child through one of the parents. If one of the parents has the cataract gene at 50% the risk of the child suffering from this disease is greater. It could also appear as a symptom of other congenital diseases or idiopathically, that is, with an unknown origin. 

infectious cataracts

They usually develop because of some infectious disease that the mother has contracted during pregnancy. They are usually congenital and one of the conditions that can lead to this condition in newborn children is rubella.

Metabolic cataracts

It is produced as a consequence of important diseases such as diabetes and galactosemia. They are also associated with others such as Alport syndrome or Fabry disease.

Symptoms of cataracts in the eyes

At its initial phase do not usually cause symptomatologyHowever, as the lens loses its transparency, the symptoms become evident. The cataracts usually cause vision problems like:

  • Sensitivity to the glow
  • Cloudy vision o fuzzy.
  • Difficulty seeing at night and in the dim light.
  • See opaquely or loss of color intensity.
  • Double vision.
  • Difficulty differentiate the shade of colors.
  • Frequent changes in the graduation of the glasses.
  • See halos of light Around the spotlight

El timely diagnosis is essential to prevent the condition from progressing to significant vision loss. Diagnosis is made with an eye exam.. Also, when a person presents hypermature cataracts there is a risk that the disease spreads to other parts of the eye, which can trigger a painful type of glaucoma.

In childhood cataracts, a postpartum exam is done to detect a congenital cataract. In addition, pediatricians detect them in regular check-ups, using tests such as the red reflex with a retinoscope. Also, flash photography can reveal a white reflection in the pupil. 

Cataract Risk Factors

  • Environmental: radiation, exposure to ultraviolet light, habit of smoking and eye trauma.
  • Metabolic: diabetes, low levels of serum calcium and any other metabolic and inflammatory disorder.
  • Idiopathic: the cause of cataracts is not known.
  • Medications: the consumption of corticosteroids and associated drugs increases the risk of developing cataracts.

First symptoms of cataracts in the eyes

In their initial phase they do not usually cause symptoms, however, as the lens loses its transparency, the symptoms become evident. Cataracts usually cause mainly vision problems such as:

Early diagnosis is essential to prevent the condition from progressing and significant vision loss from occurring. Also, when a person has hypermature cataracts, there is a risk that the disease will spread to other parts of the eye, which can trigger a painful type of glaucoma.

Cataract operation

Unlike other eye conditions, cataracts can only be treated through surgical intervention, however, not all people affected with this condition they are candidates for the operation. The people who apply for surgical removal are those whose vision is compromised and, therefore, there is no other alternative.

La cataract operation it consists of removing the opaque lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. In Área Oftalmológica Avanzada we are experts in this type of interventions, guaranteeing a surgery performed by the best professionals.

There are two procedures to make this possible:

  • Extracapsular surgery: is he most commonly used method to treat cataracts Consists in remove the lens and keep the outer covering of the eye intact, when the lens is removed an intraocular lens is placed in its place. With this method there are less risk of surgical infection In the eyes, the recovery process is shorter, it is used Anesthesia local and it is carried out through a microscope.
  • Intracapsular surgery: is he least used procedure, since it is used alone and very serious cases. Consists in remove all the lens and the outer covering of the eye.

Since the surgery is ambulatory, many people wonder how is he cataract postoperative. The truth is that it is much simpler than you think, On the day of the intervention the person goes home accompanied by someone, since it will present a temporary loss of vision. However, after a couple of days will recover, clear vision and the yes you take from the falls will not be present. However, if a person suffering from macular degeneration If cataract surgery is performed, it may not recover the total clarity of the vision.

En Área Oftalmológica Avanzada we are specialists in treating vision problems, including cataracts in the eyes. If you want to know more about them or want to make an appointment, simply visit our contact page. Our professionals will attend to your requests as soon as possible. We will wait for you!

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Cataratas: causas, primeros síntomas y tratamiento
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Cataracts: causes, first symptoms and treatment
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Cataracts in the eyes are a common condition in the elderly, so it is important to know their risk factors, symptoms and treatment.
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Área Oftalmológica Avanzada
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