Causes and Symptoms of Cataract ?
Cataract is an eye disease caused by damage to lens proteins, causing the lens to become blurry. Damage to this lens protein can be triggered by several factors, including degeneration due to aging; triggered by other diseases, either in the eyes or in the body; trauma and congenital or birth defects. Even though cataract blindness is reversible, if not treated properly, cataracts can cause blindness.
Fig 1. Anatomy of the eyeball. Fig 2. Whitish color on the eye beads.
According to the World Report on Vision in 2019, it is estimated that globally approximately 2.2 billion people have vision problems. The visual impairment or blindness that occurs in 1 billion people can actually be prevented. Meanwhile in Indonesia, based on national data from the Ministry of Health's 2014 - 2016 Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness (RAAB) Blindness Survey, targeting a population aged 50 years and over, it is known that the blindness rate reached 3% and cataracts were the highest cause of blindness (81%).
Various early symptoms that can be an indication that someone is suffering from cataracts:
1. Blurred vision when looking at objects or reading writing
2. Sensitive to light rays
3. Difficulty seeing at night / excessive glare, especially when driving at night
4. Whitish color in the pupils / eye beads
Cataract examination with the Snellen Chart can help to measure visual acuity. The doctor will also perform a slit lamp biomicroscopy examination to examine the front segment of the eyeball, including the cornea, iris, pupil and eye lens. Examination by dilating the pupil is needed to assess the condition of the retina / optic nerve.
Prevention of cataracts:
1. Diligently check your eye health
Adults under 50 years of age are advised to have their eyes checked every one to two years. Meanwhile, for those aged over 50 years, it is recommended to have their eyes checked at least once a year.
2. Protect the eyes from exposure to UV rays
UV rays can damage eye proteins, therefore we must avoid direct exposure to sunlight by wearing sunglasses or head protection such as a hat, especially when doing activities under the hot sun.
3. Maintain health
Maintaining health is important in preventing disease from easily attacking the body. Because certain diseases such as diabetes can increase the risk of cataracts.
4. Consume nutritious food
Antioxidants can stop protein damage in the lens of the eye, so this can prevent the risk of cataracts.
5. Maintain an ideal body weight
Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of diabetes, which is a risk factor for cataracts.
6. Don't smoke
Smoking can create free radicals which increase the risk of developing cataracts
7. Do not consume alcoholic drinks
Excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of cataracts.
Friends of Hermina, if you have complaints in the eye area, please visit a specialist doctor at our hospital to immediately get the right treatment.