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Cataract is a disease that affects the lens of the eye. The human lens, like the lens of a camera, focusses light on the retina (the camera film). Typically, the human lens contains soluble proteins and water that are arranged in a specific pattern to give the lens its transparent nature. It is this transparency that enables light to pass through and focus on the retina, to be picked up by the optic nerve to form an image of what you see. As we grow old, the proteins start clumping together and clouding the lens, and this is called Cataract. Besides ageing, cataract can also develop due to exposure to UV rays, injury, prolonged use of certain medications etc.
The symptoms of cataract largely depend on the type of cataract that’s developing in the lens. Not all cataracts are alike. While for some people, it develops in the center of the lens others could develop it around the lens’ periphery while few others might have it at the back of their lens. Some of the most common symptoms, however, are blurry/clouded vision, sensitivity to bright light, dull appearance of colours, change in spectacle prescription, etc. In case of paediatric cataract, you’ll find that the kid does not react well to light or colourful objects. If you notice one or more of these symptoms, please visit your eye doctor and get a check-up done immediately.
Glaucoma is a condition of the human eye where the optic nerve (the one that carries signals from the eye to the brain) gets damaged due to excessive pressure inside your eye. Since the optic nerve is the primary carrier of visual stimulus to the brain, damage to it could actually result in significant loss of vision. Glaucoma generally affects both the eyes, although the pressure inside each eye could be different.
We’ve been talking about this pressure building up inside your eyes for some time now. But why exactly would there be an increase in pressure, all of a sudden? So here’s what happens inside your eyes. The human eye can be divided into two segments – the anterior chamber that’s in front of the lens and the posterior chamber that’s behind the lens. Now, in the anterior chamber, the space between the cornea and our natural lens is filled with a fluid called aqueous humor. This fluid (which contains nutrients for the eye) is generated in the anterior chamber and is drained out of the eye through a mesh like structure. So as long as this production & drainage equation is proportionate, there’s no problem. However, the slightest of changes to production/draining equilibrium could result in increased intraocular pressure (intraocular – inside the eye chamber). And the rest, you already know – pressure leads to damage of optic nerve which in turn leads to loss of vision. Wide-angle and narrow-angle are the two types of glaucoma that you’ll generally come across and both result in increased intraocular pressure.
Laser treatment as an option for eye power correction has been in vogue for over two decades now. The first laser vision correction was performed in Germany in the late 80’s and since then, there’ve been major advancements, that have improved the quality of the surgery in terms of safety and precision. While laser eye treatment is primarily used for correcting refractive errors, laser technology has been put to good use in cataract and retinal treatments as well.
Laser vision correction has evolved rapidly over the last twenty years. LASIK is the most popular refractive error correction surgeries and can rectify a power of -1D to -9D in myopia patients and up to +4D in hypermetropia patients. In LASIK, a motorized blade is used to create a flap of the first two layers of the cornea and a computer-controlled laser is used to reshape the inner layers. Intralase is a blade-free approach where a specialized laser is used to create this flap and then reshape. ReLEx SMILE has come in as the next advancement and is bladeless and flapless with much faster recovery.
Cornea is the transparent outermost layer of the human eye. Technically speaking, the cornea is not a single layer; it’s made of five delicate membranes that are arranged one below the other. Cornea plays a major role in focussing your vision; its transparency and its curvy shape helps in refracting light from an object in a way that it falls at the perfect spot on the retina thereby enabling sharpness of vision. In addition to this, the cornea also acts as a protective layer preventing all the dust, dirt and germs from entering into the inside of our eyes. Now, that’s quite an important role to play, ain’t it?
Corneal Diseases require multi-modality of medications which help in reducing the symptoms and curing the disease. Also, these diseases take a very long duration of treatment and frequent follow-ups. The most important factor for early healing and recovery is patient’s compliance to use medications religiously as per the instructions. In cases of infections of cornea, small amounts of superficial corneal tissue is removed (scrapping) and evaluated for presence of type of infection and the organism causing it. Depending on the results, specific medications for that infection are given to help faster recovery.
Retina is the innermost layer of the eye and is light sensitive in nature. When we see an object, the light rays pass through the lens in our eyes and fall on the retina. They get converted into neural signals/impulses here and the optic nerve carries these visual stimuli to the brain that translates them back as images. Now if you are a Harry Potter fan, then consider the retina as the platform 9 ¾ (the entry point to the world of magic). If something goes wrong here, then nothing reaches your center for imagination (the brain) and your vision to the beautiful world stays completely cut-off.
Floaters, eye flashes and sudden onset of blurry vision are the most common symptoms that can scream loud of a retinal problem. If it’s a child, a white pearl in the kid’s eyes could indicate a retinal complication. Especially if the child was born preterm, it becomes absolutely essential to do a retinal evaluation to rule out retinopathy of prematurity.
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