Cataract: Compare Costs for a treatment abroad

Cataracts is partial or total disruption of eye lens resulting in clouding of eye. Eye lens are located behind iris and pupil. Cataracts is usually manifested in decreased visual acuity and veil at front of the eyes. To understand better the nature of cataracts, one needs to know how an eye works. Human crystalline lens works as camera lens, depicting everything that happens around a person. In youth crystalline lens are completely transparent and elastic, that`s why eye catches all light rays, that fall into retina and eye instantly focuses on close and distant objects. With age lens of the eye gradually begin to thicken and lose essential ability to focus.

Cataract is prominent cause of blindness and decreased vision in world. One person in every six experiences opacity in the lens after 40 years of age. Every second person develops cataracts after 80 years old.  According to statistics also 3.7% of world population suffers from cataract. Nevertheless, cataracts prognosis is good for people who started treatment on time and nowadays modern medicine allows patients to recover from almost every cataracts type.

Cataract symptoms

Symptoms of cataract manifest themselves in gradual decrease of vision. In severe cases lens lose transparency, which leads to blindness. Symptoms of cataracts in different patients vary depending on localization of clouding. Ophthalmologists differentiate cortical and subcapsular cataracts. Usually people with cataracts report they can not see objects clearly, because there is fog at front of their eyes. Colors also become dim. After cataract

surgery patient sees all colors again as before. Main symptoms cataracts are:

  1.  Gradual visual acuity decline up to blindness
  2.  Blurred vision
  3.  Brightness and contrast of colors is reduced
  4.  Color of pupil is changed, it can turn white

Cataracts have several degrees of deterioration and symptoms depending on cataracts stage. Nevertheless, many patients regardless of cataracts stage complain of double vision. This is early cataract symptom and as disease progresses, this symptom disappears.

Blurred images, which can not be corrected or correlated by lenses and glasses, are also cataracts sign. At the same time it is difficult to understand how close or far objects are located. Appearance of flares occurs mostly at night. There is also increased sensitivity of eye during night hours. But in general the night vision keeps deteriorating. Most light sources appear to be too bright and they irritate eye. When light is switched on suddenly during the night, a person with cataract sees bright strange spots and halos around him. That's why it is also difficult for a person with cataract disease to drive at night, because lights from other cars in the evening cause pain to his eyes. Color perception, as it was mentioned, gets disturbed with all colors becoming pale. It is especially complicated to perceive shades of purple, red and blue.

Improved vision after beginning of cataracts is only temporary. Period of improvement is short and vision starts to worsen again. Sometimes a person even needs to change types of glasses he is wearing frequently, because cataracts progresses too quickly.

Symptoms of cataract also include strips and flashing spots, which appear in front of eyes. Ancient Greek people called cataracts the fall, because cataract gives an impression of veil. It becomes difficult to read, see signs on street, write or work with small details for patients with cataracts. Signs of cataract are usually detected early, that's why diagnosis in most cases done on time.

Cataracts causes

It is not known why lens begin to thicken. Research scientists consider most probable cataracts causes aging, because visual deterioration is a natural part of aging process. Nevertheless, clouding and cataract development can begin earlier under influence of such unfavorable factors as:

  1. Ultraviolet radiation
  2. Bad ecology
  3. Smoking
  4. Excessive alcohol consumption
  5. Malnutrition, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle
  6. Hypertensive heart disease and diabetes
  7. Long-term use of corticosteroids
  8. Hereditary diseases
  9. Infection during pregnancy
  10. Other eye diseases - uveitis, iridocyclitis, glaucoma, high myopia
  11. Eye injury
  12. Thermal and radiation exposure

There are several other factors that determine etiology and emergence of cataracts. Among them are:

  1. Diabetes and other pathologies of thyroid gland. In particular, muscular dystrophy can cause cataracts.
  2. Prolonged exposure to sun can also be dangerous, that is why people are always recommended to wear sunglasses on sunny days
  3. Retinal detachment can cause lens breach
  4. Severe infections, such as malaria, typhoid, smallpox and other might decrease vision acuity
  5. Anemia, not enough vitamins and minerals, is a predisposing factor for development of eye disease. In this case a person is recommended to eat fruits rich in vitamin A and E. Carrot and other fruits of orange color contain such vitamins. Intoxication of organism can contribute to cataracts development. For instance, long alcohol abuse, drug consumption and smoking cause severe intoxication.
  6. Skin diseases such as eczema, scleroderma and especially atopic dermatitis.
  7. Hereditary factor can also be risk factor Patients whose relatives had cataracts need to be diagnosed at ophthalmologist often and they should take special vitamins and pills that strengthen lens.
  8. Down's disease can cause congenital cataracts, which often occurs if a pregnant woman suffered from a severe infection, such as rubella, toxoplasmosis or influenza. Working in hot workplaces where there is high risk of eye exposure to heat is also very dangerous. Another cataracts cause is polluted environment and ultraviolet radiation exposure.

Diagnosis of cataracts

Diagnosis of cataracts does not present difficulties for ophthalmologist. Special microscope allows doctor examine all parts of eye lens and see slightest clouds, which are characteristic for cataracts. Special lamp can also show cataract.

Stages of age-related cataract.

Generally, there are 5 stages of cataracts. They are determined by vision deterioration, that a patient experiences. There are such cataracts stages:

  1. front and rear capsular cataracts
  2. layered perinuclear cataracts
  3. nuclear cataracts
  4. cortical cataracts
  5. complete cataracts

The initial stage is characterized by appearance of cataract lens opacity, which is not located in the optical zone. The second stage is characterised by blurring, which completely covers eye lens. In this stage of disease a person can distinguish color of only very bright objects. Complete cataracts means that decrease of vision is complete. Disease progresses four to six years. Fifteen percent of patients have a slow progression of the disease, which lasts ten to fifteen years. Seventy percent of patients with cataract progression develop this disease in range of 6-10 years. Person needs mandatory surgery for treatment of cataract.

Cataracts treatment

The only treatment for cataracts is microsurgical surgery, when clouded lenses are removed and artificial intraocular lenses are implanted. This is one of the most effective and safe eye surgeries. Recovery after cataract surgery is very quick. In most cases patient receives high visual acuity. Cost of cataract surgery reaches 3000-4000 dollars.

Doctors can also use phacoemulsification of cataract, which is "gold standard" cataracts treatment worldwide. In this case an artificial lens is implanted with the help of ultrasound. It is done by special ultrasonic device. Advantages of this operation are that there is no pain, as it is performed under local anesthetic, no blood and no scars. Phacoemulsification also lasts only 20 - 30 minutes. Artificial lenses are the most important choice for patients with cataracts, that`s why it is vital to find the right pair before surgery.

Another common cataracts treatment is laser cataract surgery. Laser is used for automation of certain parts of eye. Laser micro cut is performed on cornea and lens to implant new lens.

Cost of cataracts laser surgery is 2-3 times higher compared to a conventional method.

Extracapsular cataract extraction is classic, but outdated cataract surgery which requires great concentration of surgeon. At present it is carried out only when a person can not undergo phacoemulsification. Large incision of an eye sutures for six months, that`s why it is rarely preferable because of many postoperative complications.

In order to cure cataract, person needs to go to doctor the moment he noticed cataracts symptoms. If cataracts are not severe, patient in some cases requires only conservative therapy. Sometimes doctors can prescribe drugs or drops, that improve metabolism in lens. Such drugs are used to treat cataracts, because they contain such substances as nicotinamide and adenosine. Another beneficial effect of these drugs is that they reactivate the process of oxidation. Such drugs can also be used by pregnant women, although they need to consult with doctor first. Among most common side effects of drugs are allergic reactions, tingling and burning sensation in eyes. Dizziness occurs very rarely. There can also be increased blood pressure and nausea. Sometimes a person suffers from shortness of breath and fainting. Such drugs should not be prescribed to children or patients with hypersensitivity to components included in drops. It is important to refrain from wearing soft contact lenses while using drops. If irritation occurs, course of drugs must be terminated. Drops also help activate the enzymes contained in moisture of an eye. The advantage of such drops is that they have low water absorption, do not have side effects, and do not interact with other drugs. Drops can also be used if a person had trauma. They are perfect for elderly and for people who live in polluted environment.

Complications that can arise after surgery

To avoid complications, it is necessary to comply with recommendations of an ophthalmologist, which can ban lifting weights and being in dusty environments. It is also necessary to avoid hypothermia or walking in windy weather. If the cataract was not diagnosed on time and if surgery was unsuccessful, there can be such complications as:

Total blindness or amaurosis. As it was mentioned above, cataract is leading cause of complete loss of vision. Blindness does not occur abruptly, it is appearing gradually.

Dislocation of lens. This complication is characterized by total displacement and separation of holding eye ligament. Sight is rapidly deteriorating and lens is subject to mandatory removal.

Iridocycliti is an inflammation of iris and ciliary body. Person experiences severe pain in eye and head, skin becomes bluish or red, pupil moves badly. When acute process is eliminated, lens are also needs to be removed.

Glaucoma. This complication is characterized by increase in pressure within eye due to the fact that lens increases in size. Lens needs to be removed and glaucoma therapy is aimed at reduction of pressure.

Amblyopia of obscure origin. This complication is often manifested in children as a result of congenital cataracts. Amblyopia is characterized by fact that retina stops receiving signals from outside, it becomes atrophied and ceases to function properly, although it was healthy. Treatment of this complication can be done only by surgery.

In order to avoid such severe complications, cataracts should be diagnosed and treated on time under guidance of professional doctors.

Cataract prevention

Cataract prevention aims to eliminate and reduce the impact of reasons why there clouding appears in natural human lens. People who want to prevent cataracts one needs:

  1. Limit impact of UV radiation on eye
  2. Quit smoking
  3. Limit alcohol consumption
  4. Control blood pressure
  5. Follow certain dietary restrictions
  6. Control blood sugar
  7. Lower level of cholesterol

If there is risk of developing cataracts, it is important to take such drops as Taufon or Vitsetin after consultation with the doctor. There should also be a mandatory visit to an ophthalmologist at least 2 times per year. Wearing sunglasses that can block UV light from entering lens of eye is a good idea. Foods rich in antioxidants such as fruits and vegetables must be implemented into everyday ration. Regular measurement of blood sugar levels and timely treatment of diabetes can also prevent cataracts. Compliance with safety measures when working with potentially hazardous materials in hot workplaces, chemical laboratories, and so forth are a must.

Frequent hand washing, which prevents development of infections of various origins, reduces risk of developing cataracts. Getting rid of bad habits is also essential part of cataracts prevention. There are many preventive methods, however there is no universal prevention of cataracts. Therefore, persons older than 65 are required to visit doctor more than two times a year to detect any changes in visual acuity. 

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Best hospitals for Cataract treatment

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location_onCountry: Germany
location_searchingCity: Gummersbach

Gummersbach District Hospital of the Klinikum Oberberg

The Department of Ophthalmology at the Klinikum Oberberg is headed by Dr. med. Ludger Henke and has been working since 1994. The range of surgical services includes not only cataract surgery, but also surgical treatment of glaucoma, strabismus, corneal, refractive surgery as well as corneal transplantation.

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location_onCountry: Germany
location_searchingCity: Hannover

Hannover Medical School, MHH

Department of Ophthalmology has changed significantly in recent years. Using the latest technology, the clinic is able to collect research results and to compare them during treatment. The eyes photos are taken by a small, skilled and experienced team and provided to the clinic physicians in digital form.

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