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Have cataract. Is this genetic disease? How to cure this without surgery?

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Practicing since : 1997
Answered : 117 Questions
Hi Doctor,

What are the causes of cataracts? Is this illness inherited? My mother is 62 years old. One of her eyes suffered from cataracts. What are the consequences if she does not want to go for surgery? Any alternative way to cure it?
Posted Wed, 27 Mar 2013 in Vision and Eye Disorders
Answered by Dr. Naseem 1 hour later
Hi. Thanks for posting your query here.

There are a vast array of causes of Cataract but among of all of them the commonest is AGE RELATED and is seen in almost all individuals to some degree after the age of 60.

The other less common but still often seen causes are:
CONGENITAL and DEVELOPMENTAL seen at birth and in the first year of life respectively.

TRAUMATIC seen following blunt or penetrating injury to the eye.

INFLAMMATORY OR COMPLICATED following an inflammation of the eye and even as a complication of certain diseases like Rheumatoid arthritis.

Following the use of some drugs and eye drops commonly steroids.

Certain diseases accelerate the onset of cataract like diabetes.

Age related cataracts are not inherited.
Only some forms of congenital cataracts are inherited. But these manifest in children and newborns.
Most people develop cataracts as they age and hence are seen in all generations but that is the age factor and not genetic in any way.

From your description, your mother probably has an age related cataract assuming the rest of the eye is fine.

There is no alternative way to cure cataract. No medical treatment has any curative potential so far and the only way to treat cataract is to surgically remove the cloudy lens.

If the cataract is in the early stages, just changing the spectacle number helps. The vision may improve to normal for near and far or may be almost normal. However, as the cataract progresses the spectacle number does change.

At one point, no change in prescription can help and the only way is surgery.

Fortunately, even though the vision reduces drastically, it is reversible.

If the lens remains in the eye in an immature stage there is no damage.
The only thing to look out for is the pressure of the eye which should be normal.

If the lens is mature and still in the eye, it can lead to an increase in the eye pressure and damage the optic nerve which cannot be reversed. In this case immediate surgery is required.

Rarely, the lens may rupture if left in and lead to a whole set of new complications.
How long you can wait depends on how far advanced the cataract is.

Hope this helps. Do revert if there is anything more I can help you with.
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