Preserving Your Vision | Cataracts and Macular Degeneration healthcare nt sickcare

Cataracts and Macular Degeneration

As we age, vision changes are common. Two of the most common age-related eye conditions are cataracts and macular degeneration. Cataracts cause the lens of the eye to become cloudy, leading to blurred vision, while macular degeneration affects central vision due to damage to the macula. Fortunately, solutions exist to restore vision loss from these conditions.

What is Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that blurs the sharp, central vision required for activities like reading and driving. AMD impacts the macula, which is part of the retina. The retina converts light into signals that are sent to the brain, allowing us to see. As AMD progresses, dark or blurry areas may appear in central vision.

What Causes Macular Degeneration?

The underlying cause involves damage to the macula. Contributing factors include:

  • Age: AMD typically starts after age 60
  • Genetics: Family history increases risk
  • Smoking: Damages blood vessels in the eyes
  • Sunlight: Chronic ultraviolet light exposure

Stages and Symptoms

There are three stages of AMD:

  1. Early AMD: Often there are no symptoms in early stages. An eye care professional may detect drusen, which are yellow deposits under the retina. Vision is not usually impacted.
  2. Intermediate AMD: More drusen form and some vision loss may occur. This is a good time to start taking protective supplements.
  3. Late AMD: This advanced stage has two forms:
  4. “Dry” AMD: Gradual central vision loss. No treatment available yet. “Wet” AMD: Abnormal blood vessels leak fluid, causing rapid vision loss. Treatments can help.

How to Test for Macular Degeneration?

To check for AMD, an ophthalmologist will conduct a dilated eye exam to carefully evaluate the retina and macula. They may order tests like:

  • Visual acuity test: Checks central vision sharpness
  • Tonometry: Measures eye pressure
  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT) scan: Provides cross-sectional retina images

Detecting AMD early is key to preserving vision with timely treatment.

What is Cataracts?

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, causing blurred or hazy vision. As cataracts grow denser, good eyesight deteriorates. Reading small print, driving at night, seeing colours properly, and reacting to changes in light become more difficult. Developing slowly, cataracts are common as people age 60 and over.

Cataract Symptoms May Include

  • Blurry vision
  • Halos around lights
  • Sensitivity to glare
  • Fading colours
  • Poor night vision
  • Double vision
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription

What Causes Cataracts?

There are several types of cataracts:

  • Age-related: Most common after age 60
  • Secondary: Caused by medical conditions like diabetes
  • Traumatic: Blunt injury to the eye
  • Radiation: Exposure to ultraviolet light

As the lens slowly loses transparency over years, cataract symptoms gradually appear. Some underlying risk factors include genetics, smoking, alcohol use, UV light exposure, steroid medications, and diabetes.

How to Test for Cataracts?

Cataracts can form very gradually without symptoms until vision impact occurs. Diagnosing cataracts involves a comprehensive eye exam, including:

  • Visual acuity measurement: Assesses sharpness of vision
  • Eye pressure test: High pressure can cause cataracts
  • Pupil dilation: Allows examination of back of eye
  • Detailed slit lamp exam: Magnifies interior eye structures

Based on exam findings, the ophthalmologist determines the presence and severity of cataracts.

Restoring Vision with Cataract Surgery

If cataracts are significantly interfering with daily activities, cataract surgery may be recommended. This outpatient procedure is highly successful at improving vision.

The operation involves carefully breaking the hazy lens apart with ultrasound and removing the cataract fragments. An intraocular lens (IOL) implant is placed inside the empty lens capsule. Made of clear plastic or silicone, the IOL bends and focuses light properly onto the retina to return sharp vision.

Is cataract surgery painful?

Most patients report feeling only mild discomfort. Though awake, anaesthesia keeps the eye numb during surgery. Immediately after, acetaminophen relieves residual soreness.

How long does recovery take after cataract surgery?

Visual recovery is rapid. Over 90% achieve 20/40 vision or better by one week post-op. Swelling subsides within 6 weeks, allowing glasses/contacts to be calibrated for clearest sight.

Can cataracts return after surgery?

No. The implanted IOL remains permanently clear. However, capsule haze or wrinkling may sometimes reduce sharpness. A quick outpatient laser procedure easily corrects this.

When can I resume normal activities?

Next day, most patients feel comfortable enough for computer work and reading. By one week, exercise, and driving are OK. Lifting limits apply for 1 month.

Vision-Saving Treatments for AMD

While no cure exists for AMD yet, new medical treatments offer hope by slowing disease progression. Particularly beneficial in wet AMD, these injections preserve central vision.

  1. Anti-VEGF Eye Injections: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) causes abnormal blood vessels. Anti-VEGF drugs block extra vessel growth to minimize fluid leakage. With frequent eye injections, vision recovery can occur.
  2. Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT): This non-invasive imaging scan produces 3D retina maps showing AMD effects. It guides precise injection placement and monitors treatment responses.
  3. Next Generation Eye Supplements: Advanced ocular vitamins combine nutrients like zinc, copper, lutein, zeaxanthin, and mesozeaxanthin. These supplements filter high energy light and mitigate retinal damage based on breakthrough research.

Regular ophthalmologist monitoring, timely treatment interventions, nutritional support, and UV light protection offer the best odds of retaining functional vision longer.

Maintaining Healthy Eyes

To protect eyes proactively, be sure to:

  • ✔ Schedule annual dilated eye exams after age 60
  • ✔ Eat green leafy vegetables and fish
  • ✔ Take eye health supplements if advised
  • ✔ Wear 100% UVA/UVB blocking sunglasses outside
  • ✔ Quit smoking and minimize alcohol
  • ✔ Control diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure

Following healthy habits helps reduce vision loss risks so you can keep seeing life clearly.

Discover Quality Eye Care with healthcare nt sickcare

As an ISO 9001:2015 certified laboratory, healthcare nt sickcare facilitates access to gold standard eye tests and treatments. By ordering tests online and providing flexible mobile phlebotomy services, we simplify monitoring eye health. Partnering with premiere eye hospitals across India, we can connect you to top ophthalmology specialists.

healthcare nt sickcare empowers you with knowledge and bridges the gap between initial symptoms and definitive solutions. Let us help you access the best technology, resources, and expertise to achieve the best vision outcomes possible. We offer transparent pricing, affordable payment plans and excellent service every step of the way.

Invest in overseeing eye wellness now so you can keep life in clear sight for years to come!


As a quality-focused medical testing laboratory, healthcare nt sickcare facilitates early detection and interventions for vision-threatening conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration. We provide convenient access to critical imaging tests and assessments, so treatment can begin promptly when indicated. By serving as your partner along the eye care journey, we empower you with knowledge and connections to specialists, leading to the best possible preservation of sight.

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