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Cataracts no longer restricted to age: Experts

IANS  |  New Delhi 

While are usually known to cause loss among older adults, medical experts suggest that the affliction is no longer restricted to any particular age group and can even occur at birth.

A is the clouding of the clear of the eye, which lies behind the iris and the pupil. This happens because normal proteins of the start losing transparency.

Most develop slowly and do not disturb eyesight in the beginning but with time a usually interferes with and if untreated could possibly result in

According to a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, an estimated 200,000 children are bilaterally blind from cataracts, and many more suffer from partial that progress and cause increasing visual difficulty as the child grows.

"In India, 7.4-15.3 per cent of childhood is due to cataract," Naren Shetty, Vice-Chairman, in Bengaluru, told IANS.

Congenital refers to opacity of the detected at birth or at an early stage of childhood. It is also the primary cause of treatable childhood worldwide.

"are responsible for nearly 10 per cent of all loss in children world-wide. are one of the most common treatable causes of and blindness during infancy, with an estimated prevalence of one to six cases per 10,000 live births," Shetty added.

While a cataract is less likely to see in younger age group but when it occurs, the reason can be due to trauma, which is an injury, or due to any inflammatory condition that a person might have, or as a side-effect of any medication such as steroids. such as can also cause cataracts.

"Problems during pregnancy such as can also cause cataract in babies. If the baby has any medical problem then also cataract can occur. Childhood trauma or reaction to certain medications can also be a catalyst for cataracts," Uma Mallaiah, Senior Consultant, Ophthalmologist, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Delhi, told IANS.

"Cataract is usually curable. No eye-drops or any medication can cure a cataract. is the only treatment for cataract wherein natural lens are replaced with artificial intra-ocular lens," she added.

Shetty stated that involves removing the defective lens of the and replacing it with an artificial lens.

"Also, there has been a big myth for years that cataract needs to be done only when it fully matures. This is untrue, as surgery should be done as and when the patient feels that his or her normal activities like driving, watching television are being affected," he added.

is home to one-fourth of the world's blind population with 8 million blind people in the country. A recent study by Information (NCBI) has found cataract to be the most significant cause of in It has been reported to be responsible for 50-80 per cent of the bilaterally blind in the country.

"People above the age of 60 are more usually more susceptible to developing cataract. However, over the last few years, prevalence among younger adults has also been increasing," said Mahipal Singh Sachdeva, MD and of Centre for Sight in

According to a new Asia-Pacific Eye Health Survey conducted by global eye care Alcon, (24 per cent) has the highest proportion of respondents diagnosed with such as cataract, compared to the countries such as (12 per cent), (8 per cent), (8 per cent) and (6 per cent).

This could be due to the increased exposure to digital devices. The survey revealed that about 52 per cent and 48 per cent of Indians used computers or devices respectively for four hours or more every day.

"Although cataract formation cannot be prevented completely, reducing over exposure to sunlight, avoiding smoking, control of diabetes, eating a balanced diet can potentially slow down the progression of cataract," Shetty said.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, October 11 2018. 19:10 IST