Mature Cataract

The Mature Cataract And How To Prevent It

A cataract is an opacity which occurs in the eye's crystalline lens, and in a mature cataract the entire lens has become opaque and may exhibit swelling. A mature cataract causes loss of vision in the affected eye, although differences between light and darkness can usually be observed.

A cataract, especially a mature cataract, usually forms over a long period of time, often several years, although in certain instances, such as due to an illness or injury, a cataract may form fairly quickly. Cataracts in humans most often form during the latter stages of life, though can occur at any age. Unless an eye disease or another eye disorder makes cataract surgery impractical or risky, surgery is usually the best means of treatment and is normally very successful.

Since cataracts develop slowly, we are usually not aware of them unless in the course of an eye examination an ophthalmologist detects one. Usually there is no urgency to do anything about a cataract until its effect on one's vision begins to affect that person's quality of life. Treatment is of course advisable before a mature cataract has had the time to develop.

Symptoms - The first sign of the presence of a cataract is usually that of experiencing seemingly excessive glare from headlights while driving at night. Later, driving in bright sunlight can become a challenge because of glare. For those who wear glasses, it appears to be time for a new prescription, as objects begin to become blurry. It's when the new prescription does little if any good, that one might start looking into the advisability of cataract surgery.

Having a cataract makes one feel like they are viewing life through a dirty window, or through eye glasses that are in constant need of cleaning. In the case of a very pronounced or mature cataract the affected eye will become virtually useless.

Whether you have a mature cataract or a cataract in a lesser stage of development, surgery can change your situation almost instantaneously, with the eye in many cases going from poor vision to 20/20 vision or nearly so overnight. Cataract surgery usually takes between 60 and 90 minutes including preparation and recovery time. The actual procedure takes around 20 minutes, and is more of an interesting experience than something to be feared.

Preparation - A few days or weeks prior to the surgery, the patient will visit the ophthalmologist’s office or clinic for consultation, and also to be measured for a lens which will be placed in the eye during surgery. This is not a contact lens but one that will be permanently fitted under the outer tissues of the eye.

The Surgical Procedure - The patient is awake during surgery since a local anesthetic in the form of eye drops, is used. The operation is painless, and when in progress the patient experiences what amounts to an interesting light show. A small incision is made in the outer tissue of the eye and a small ultrasonic device is inserted to break up the cataract which is then removed with a tiny vacuum. The new lens is then inserted. The surgeon may then place his had in front of your eye. Because of the bright light you'll see the silhouette of the hand and fingers. Operation successful! Vision will be blurry the next 12 to 24 hours, but should become crystal clear within a day or two. Your bad eye has suddenly become your best eye.


Recovery - The recovery period usually involves a few days of recommend rest or light activity, and a month of using eye drops consisting of antibiotics and healing agents. Dark glasses will be needed for at least two days, as the eye will remain dilated for that long. Most patients feel little in the way of pain or discomfort, though discomfort will be felt if pressure is placed on the eyeball. You'll be encouraged to wear an eye patch for 2 or 3 nights so you don't inadvertently rub your eye during sleep.

The surgical procedure, being quick, painless, and effective, plus offering a free light show, means that no one should ever have to wait for a mature cataract to develop before taking steps to cure the disease.