Five signs and three myths you need to know about cataract

Dr Deepak GargUpdated: Tuesday, December 01, 2020, 08:31 AM IST
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One of the commoner questions we get asked in our outpatient department is “doctor do I need to get operated for my cataract?”

Here are the five symptoms that a cataract can cause you…

The first is that you will have difficulty reading in dim light, it could be reading a book or a newspaper. It could even mean reading a menu card at a restaurant in the evening which is dimly lit. If you are having difficulty reading in dim light it is an indication that you may have an early cataract.

When you are sitting in a car in the evenings or nights, you will see halos around the oncoming headlights. If you see these halos, they can be extremely disturbing and this could be an indication of a cataract in your eyes.

You may not see clearly with your glasses and every time you go to a doctor he suggests you have a change of glasses. Now you can’t keep changing glasses every few months and when that starts happening then it could be because of the cataract.

You may notice a different intensity of colour than the person you’re with, so somebody else may notice a different shade of a colour and you may see a dimmer tone of the same colour or you may even see a different shade altogether. This also could be an indication that you have a cataract.

Most important of them all is when your vision has dropped and you can’t read the number plate of the car in front of you or you cannot see the ticker at the bottom of your television screen when someone else can. When your vision has dropped it’s obviously a significant symptom of cataract.

So, these were the five symptoms that cataract can cause you and if you have these symptoms then you may consider getting a cataract surgery done.

Three myths about cataract:

There are some myths regarding cataract especially in India. The first is that, cataract has to be ripe before it can be operated. That is not true anymore. The fact is that you do not have to wait for the cataract to become ripe. You can choose to get operated to get rid of your symptoms at a time of your choosing. Fortunately, as patients, you do not have to suffer till the cataract becomes ripe and then get rid of your symptoms.

Second is that cataract surgery is an emergency. Cataract surgery is not an emergency. If a doctor tells you that you have a cataract it does not mean that you have to get operated the next day or the next week. Cataract surgery can be done at a time of your choosing, it is not an emergency and it will not permanently harm or damage your vision. Unless operated for, your cataract will remain, your symptoms will remain but no harm done to your eyes. The success of the surgery will be the same if a surgeon does it the next day or one year later.

The third myth is that your symptoms can be reduced with eye drops. The symptoms that you have because of cataract are not really going to go away with any drops and change of glasses. They will go away only after you get a cataract surgery done.

I think this would give you a fair idea about if you should be undergoing your cataract surgery now or waiting for a bit before you decide to do it.

(Dr Deepak Garg is a Cataract and Squint specialist and Founder of Eye Solutions, Mumbai)

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