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Cataracts- a common disease of the eye

Updated on March 5, 2014
Illustration of the human eye
Illustration of the human eye | Source

Cataracts


I don’t know how long I had cataracts in both eyes but I was told that they had probably been there for several years. In fact I did not know what they were. I also wondered why the several optometrists that had prescribed glasses for me did not diagnose the cataracts. I had trouble finding work but was working at a community college as a janitor at the time. The cataracts interfered with driving at night, which made it very hard to get to work.

Cataract in human eye
Cataract in human eye | Source

What is a Cataract?

 

A cataract is the clouding, which develops in the crystalline lens of the eye or in its envelope, which can be slight or completely opaque. They develop gradually and in my case it might have been ten years from the time they first developed until diagnosed.

There are different kinds of cataracts. Senile cataract is the kind that would usually strike older people. It is characterized by initial opacity in the lens. The lens shrinks and transparency is lost. The cataract cortex liquefies and forms a milky white fluid in a Morgagnian, which is a hyper mature senile cataract.

In younger people the cataract tends to be congenital or hereditary. Or from systemic disease such as diabetes.

Cataracts brought on by aging and most persons over sixty experience some degree of opacity. Such things as injuries to the eye, ultraviolet light, x-rays, nuclear radiation, inflammatory disease or toxic substances may also cause cataracts.

Related Problems

ome complications that arise after surgery is detached retina, endophthalmitis, posterior capsular opification. In my case a detached retinue occurred after some sort of inflammation in the eye a few days after surgery. For that reason I put off having the cataract removed from my other eye for several years. By that time procedures had improved considerably.

Cataract surgery
Cataract surgery | Source

Surgery and treatment

 

The most common treatment is surgery in advanced cases of cataracts. In this procedure the lens is removed and replaced by an artificial lens implant. In most cases vision is restored satisfactorily.

Over the years since I had my first surgery there has been amazing advances in this surgery. It used to be necessary to be hospitalized for several days and the patient could not move at all Even brushing teeth was not allowed in fear of causing damage before healing. Now it is a short procedure and the patient often can go home the same day or a day later.

Early diagnosis

 

I think it is mandatory most places for optometrists to screen for such eye diseases so that most people should now catch this at an early stage. If you have doubts ask to see an ophthalmologist who is a medical doctor specializing in eye diseases.

 

If you see “halos” around streetlights it might be a symptom and would be worth checking out.

Impact on life and work

 

One of the problems with being visually impaired is that it is not visible to other people. I am sometimes amused that when people find you have visual problems they talk louder to you. Puzzling? . To a prospective employer you are handicapped and therefore not as efficient as some other prospect. At the same time you do not fall into one of the “protected groups” that get special consideration. If you are actually officially blind then you fall into the officially “handicapped” group and are eligible for training and job preferences. But in a case like mine, I was not actually blind because they say it is curable, in theory at least.

Night driving had been a problem for many years. When I got the improved surgery on my other eye and an implant. The driving situation improved although I always had problems with the contact lens in the other eye. The doctors declined an implant on the first eye because of the trauma to it. It wasn’t until after I retired that I was able to get soft extended wear contacts for that eye that work pretty well and my vision is about as good as it ever was.

In the years when my vision was being lost certain skills suffered. One of these was photography.  Not knowing that it was my own eye that could not focus, I kept trying to focus my camera with discouraging results. My enthusiasm for photography suffered as a result. I am now trying to renew that interest.

An Amusing Story


 

When I went to work for the government as a Quality Assurance Specialist I had to fill out a form, which asked if you had any conditions that affected your life, amend ability to do things that you would normally do. I described the cataract situation as best I could.

These forms come down to our supervisors to review along with other information about us. My supervisor asked me about it and again I explained as best I could.

Sometime later I was called into the division chiefs office and he told me that my supervisor said that I was legally blind. I later found out that legal blindness rules vary from state to state, so maybe I would have been.

Anyhow, the story got around and I became known as the” Blind Inspector.”

© 2010 Don A. Hoglund

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    • eovery profile image

      eovery 6 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      I am starting to have almost a double vision in one eye. I see two lights, one just above the other. The doctor did not see a cataract, but on could be forming.

      Keep on hubbing!

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Cataract tend more to obscure your vision. It is sort of like smearing some greasy element like Vaseline over glass and trying to see through it.Thanks for the comment.

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

      My sister-in-law had cataracts and an operation helped considerably.

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Modern surgery has helped a lot. usually with an implant now the patient can see very well.

    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 6 years ago

      The blind inspector! Great story, dahoglund.

      My paternal grandmother went into the hospital for cataract surgery when I was 12. She died in the hospital - I guess from an infection. She was in ICU but I was too young to go in her room to see her. I am soooo glad the treatments are better now!

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      kimho39 Treatment and diagnosis have made great strides. The inflammation I got could have been some sort of allergic reaction. I did have good doctors because they thought I ould be lucky to get 40% of my vision back. Luckily the vision was restored except for the problem iwth contact lenses.

      Thanks for your comment.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 6 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Something I had learned though the years... an optometrist is great for prescribing glasses. But they may not find deceases of the eye. That is not what they do. An ophthalmologist is a doctor who is trained in the medical aspect of the eye.

      They both are important doctors. We need an ophthalmologist to find problems such as cataracts. But they may not be so great at prescribing glasses as that is not their specialty. We need them both. That is what I had learned from experience.

      Your hub is very useful, I voted it up. Thanks.

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I sort of learned that way myself. actually I knew what they did, but I didn't know what the problem was. Now I believe optometrists are required to screen or eye disease. If that had been the case earlier my problem might have been diagnosed much earlier and saved me much trouble.Thanks for your comments.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      My husband will be having cataract surgery next week followed by surgery on the other eye the following week. I'll be very happy when this is done as he sometimes has business at night and must drive. His vision has been declining for some time. We have a good doctor who operated on both of our mothers when they had cataracts. They had no problems and he is highly credentialed so we expect no problems.

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Mine from about 1970 for the first one and about 1990 for the other one. Entirely different experience. I was even semi-conscious for the second one with the doctor talking to me describing wht was going on. Totally different experiences and I had top doctors in both cases.

      Your husband should do nicely.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I know. At one point in my nursing career I became an opthalmic nurse specialist and also trained with what was new at the time...the phacoemulsifier...which is used to break up and suck out the old lens. Went in on Saturdays and the doctors first used this equipment on rabbits under sterile conditions just as if it had been a human. Prior to that time a larger incision had to be made in the cornea to manually remove the clouded lens.

      As you say, great advances from your first operation to your second one. Too bad about your first complication. That would have been rare even for those earlier times. The vast majority of people do well after cataract removal.

      The poor rabbits would not have seen as well after lens removal. No implants back then! Those were interesting days!

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      In this case I would not want to go back to the good old days. Although now they can grow back, which in some cases can be removed with laser surgery.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Great results on the first eye. First day post-op my husband can see 20-20 and it should improve a bit more in a day or so. The surgeon was pleased. My husband can't BELIEVE the brightness and what colors look like! Now he is looking forward to having the other eye done next week.

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      A person tends to adjust to poor vision and when better vision is restored it is something of a surprise.

      My congratulations to him.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Cataract is commonly problem appear in older age. But I hope we can prevent this early on. I always care with my eyes. I learn much from you. Start from cataracts definitions until how to treat this well by doing surgery. I agree with you, better to know this by early diagnosis.

      Very inspiring hub. I give my vote special for you. Good work, my friend. Happy New Year!

      Love and peace, Prasetio:)

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thank you for the vote and comment.You have a Happy New Year also.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I love the title "The Bling Inspector". You have to keep a sense of humor. I do agree, it should be an automatic manatory test, testing for cataracts, when testing the eyes. Great job.

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      My fellow employees were more making fun of the supervisors overreaction than they were making ffun of me. I believe such screening is required now.Thanks for commenting.

    • profile image

      optometrists Indianapolis 6 years ago

      Usually, people who have cataract are the elderly (age 40 and up). It is true having cataract affects your daily activities, especially on your work. If you have such symptoms, better visit a trusted optometrist in order to cure or prevent your eye from cataract.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      When I volunteer at the hospital, it is interesting how everyone returns to have the second eye done - they are so happy. Great inforamtion. Very well done.

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for commenting. Prevention and treatment has improved much since 1970.

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 6 years ago

      Im 56 Dahoglund , They just told me I have the beginning signs of them, my parents both had them! No big deal.

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      It shouldn't be now. With proper medical advice in the beginning and modern medicine it has become a routine operation. Thanks for commenting.

    • profile image

      CollB 6 years ago

      Yes it's a common disease that affects many. Really appreciate this info, thanks!

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I glad if it is useful to you. thanks for comemnting

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