Cataract: affecting 120,000 Brazilians a year, the disease is considered the main cause of treatable blindness – Focus.jor

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Blurred or double vision, sensitivity to light, changes in visual color perception. These are just some of the characteristic symptoms of cataracts. The disease, which is the leading cause of reversible blindness worldwide, affects 120,000 Brazilians a year. The data comes from the Brazilian Council of Ophthalmology (CBO) and serves as a warning to doctors and patients.

Cataracts affect a structure called the lens, which is the natural lens of the eye. With time and aging, it becomes opaque. This cloudiness is called a cataract and can lead to gradual loss of vision. The ophthalmologist, cataract specialist and member of the medical staff of the Massilon Vasconcelos Ophthalmological Clinic, David Almeida, explains that “there are several types of disease, which can affect newborns, young people, adults and, mainly , people aged 60 years. years and over at age 65.

The most common cause of the disease is senility, that is, the natural aging of the individual. The lens begins to change shape from birth, and from the age of 40, the natural lens begins to lose its multifocality. This condition is called presbyopia or, as it is commonly called, “almost tired eyes”. At this stage, the lens is still transparent, so it does not characterize cataracts, but is called dysfunctional lens syndrome. David warned that “there is still the possibility of several other types of cataract, one of which is congenital, which is present at birth or soon after”. This type can be seen in the eye test or in the regular consultation required by the ophthalmologist during this period.

The doctor explains that “certain factors can end up triggering or accelerating the appearance of cataracts”, as well as:
– Family history;
– Secondary smoking;
– Eye trauma;
– Use of medication without adequate supervision;
– Repetitive intraocular inflammation;
– Excessive exposure to the sun, since the early appearance of cataracts is noticed in populations that inhabit countries located near the line of the equator and which, therefore, have a higher incidence of light.

The attack is also linked to certain systemic diseases, hence the importance of follow-up with the ophthalmologist for the possibility of early diagnosis and faster initiation of treatment.

When to ask for help?

“Well, the CBO nomination and other data, reaffirms the need to talk and teach about the disease. The high rates of blindness associated with cataracts may be a reflection of late seeking ophthalmological advice, leading individuals to go blind, but this is reversible with appropriate treatment,” explains Almeida. Although it is not possible to prevent cataracts, certain actions can help eliminate risk factors:

– “Going to the ophthalmologist with the appropriate frequency is the most important thing. At least every 1 year, go to a specialist for a vision check and to see if everything is fine,” he explains.
– Avoid indiscriminate use of drugs not prescribed by doctors;
– Prevent eye injuries;
– Wear sun protection and avoid overexposure;
– Maintain a healthy routine and diet.

Treatment

“Surgery is the solution. With the pandemic, there was a decline in the performance of surgeries and people started having low vision, low vision or even blindness. This has contributed to the emergence of psychiatric disorders, therefore this procedure improves the quality of life, minimizing diseases such as depression, ”explains the doctor.

The procedure, which aims to eliminate the cataract and reverse the possible case of blindness, is done by exchanging the lens. The natural lens affected by the damage is replaced by an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens. “The intervention is relatively quick, presents a low risk, does not require hospitalization, is performed under topical anesthesia (use of anesthetic eye drops) and it is even possible to correct a possible refractive error (myopia, astigmatism or hyperopia) in most cases, i.e. when there are no contraindications,” says David.

“It is important to emphasize that laser-assisted cataract surgery is an option, in order to help carry out the procedure, which is modern and consists of the cut made by the laser itself, offering greater precision” , explains Almeida, “the processes, from there, they are similar: the lens is removed and the intraocular lens is inserted”.

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