Senile Cataract

 Senile cataract happens at anytime. It is a progressing impairment of the lens function. As the lens thickens, instead of transparent nature, it becomes whitish and the opacity of the lens makes it impossible to perceive visual acuity. If only detected earlier this can be corrected with the latest advancement in ophthalmology.

A theory implies that cataracts would appear as people age. That is why it is called senile since it was believed to be an age-related eye disease. As the body ages, so as the parts like the lens. The lens tends to be white opaque as the cells in the lens degenerate. The lens may also lack hydration that is why the lens is not that transparent as before.

A survey was done on how senile cataract affects people. People coming from Africa are victims of cataract. The incidence increases with age starting between 30 years old to 70 years old.  It has been found that age is a risk factor. People in majority would develop cataract in 45 years olds up to 64 years old. If left untreated, senile cataracts can pose a danger on the patient such as being prone o accidents and glaucoma. Both males and females are also probable in acquiring senile cataract. Any previous eye injury would also be a determining factor for senile cataracts.

Signs and Symptoms:

  1. Complaints of visual disturbance
  2. Complaints different visual perception
  3. Sensitivity to glares especially at night
  4. Sudden perception of being near-sighted

 Causative Factors:

  1. Ultraviolet exposure
  2. Complication of diabetes
  3. Aging
  4. Vices such as smoking and alcohol
  5. Systemic diseases such as hypertension, coronary disease, pneumonia, allergy and cholelithiasis
  6. Work environment such as being exposed to infrared rays
  7. Being near-sighted or myopic in the earlier age

Diagnostic Evaluation:

  1. Blood work-up – A screening done in order to rule out systemic deficiencies before undergoing to a certain procedure. A finding such as thrombocytopenia may pose an increased bleeding episode during surgery, so with this precaution, the doctor may recommend supplements or a stand by blood.
  2. A complete history and physical examination
  3. Subjective complaints of patients regarding vision disturbances.
  4. Visual Acuity Tests

Stages of Cataract:

  1. Mature cataract – If the patient loss his 20/20 vision
  2. Immature cataract – If the patient can partially have his 20/20 vision
  3. Incipient cataract – If the patient has opacity in the lens however he still has a 20/20 vision

Types of Cataract:

  1. Nuclear Cataract – The most common type of cataract in which it starts at the nucleus. It slowly progresses as it is related to aging.
  2. Cortical Cataract – The cataract is found at the outer part of the lens. This is due to aging as eventually develops due to constant exposure to the ultraviolet rays.
  3.  Posterior Subcapsular  Cataract – This type of cataract develops usually after trauma or inflammation. The cataract is located near the capsule and the membrane surrounding on the lens.

Medical & Surgical Management

  1. Anticataract medications are still under study. However, it is encouraged that individuals can have a constant supplement of Vitamin C and E in order to lessen the probability in getting cataract.
  2. Lens extraction has been the gold standard approach in treating cataracts. There are two types of lens extraction: Intracapsular cataract extraction and Extracapsular cataract extraction.

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Byron Webb Romero, RN, MSN

Finished BSN at Lyceum of the Philippines University, and Master of Science in Nursing Major in Adult Health Nursing at the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center. Currently working at Manila Doctors College of Nursing as a Team Leader for Level I and II, Lecturer for Professional Nursing Subjects, and also a Clinical Instructor.

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