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What is Cataract (Motiya)
Dr. Waseem Khan, Riyadh

If your eye doctor tells you that you have “Cataract” (motiya) in your eyes, immediately you’ll get scared. But I have a good news for you! Actually cataract is not a disease, but it is an opacification of the lens of our eye that affects vision. For example, like a camera lens, when camera lens becomes dirty or blurred by any reason then photo cannot come clear. Similarly Allah gave us a best transparent lens in our eyes, but when this lens becomes blurred then we cannot see clearly.


When we see anything, the image of that thing goes inside our eyes through this transparent lens and reaches the “retina” (light sensitive part of eye located at the back of our eye). Then retina changes this image into nerve signals and sends them to the brain. Then brain recognizes the image and that’s how we get to view things all around us. Large majority of cataracts occur in older peoples. Cataract can occur in one or both eyes simultaneously. It cannot spread from one eye to the other.

When a cataract is small, the cloudiness affects only a small part of the lens. A cataract tends to "grow" slowly and vision gets worse gradually. In the mean time, the cloudy area in the lens may get larger, and the cataract may increase in size. Your vision may get dull or blur. As age increases the lens becomes brownish. At first, the amount of tinting of lens may be small and may not cause a vision problem but as the time passes, increased tinting will cause more difficulty to read and perform other routine activities. This gradual change in amount of tinting does not affect the sharpness of the image transmitted to the retina. If you have advanced lens discoloration, you may not be able to identify blue and purple colors. You may be wearing what you believe to be a pair of black socks, but actually you are wearing purple socks.

The risk of cataract increases, as you get older. Other risk factors for cataract include:

v      Diabetes.

v      Smoking.

v      Alcohol and

v      Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet sunlight. 

The most common symptoms of a cataract are:
Cloudy or blurry vision, colors seem faded, headlights, lamps, or sunlight may appear too bright. When you look around light halos may appear .you will have poor vision at night, double vision or multiple images in one eye. Frequent changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses power. (These symptoms may clear, as the cataract gets larger.) These symptoms also can be a sign of other eye problems. If you have any of these symptoms, check with your eye specialist. Although most cataracts are related to aging, but also there are other types of cataract such as:

v     Secondary cataract: It can take place, if you’ve eye surgery for other eye problems, such as “glaucoma” (“kala pani” in Urdu language).

v     Steroid induced cataract: It is linked to long-term use of steroid medicines.

v     Traumatic cataract: It can develop after an eye injury.

v     Congenital cataract: Some babies are born with this type of cataract or it can also develop during   childhood age, this kind of cataract in childhood, needs more care because it can cause failure of development of normal vision of child, and this failure of development of vision is rarely reversible.
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