Last revised by Anchana R on 19 Nov 2023

Cataracts are an opacification or thickening of the lens within the globe and are the leading cause of blindness in the world. 

Visual deterioration occurs with increasing degrees of severity, and left untreated may present as complete blindness. The diagnosis is made clinically.

Common causes include:

Ocular ultrasound is performed when there is suspicion of posterior globe pathology but fundoscopic assessment of the back of the eye is obscured by the opaque lens. The lens will demonstrate increased wall thickness and hyperechogenicity 4.

Especially useful in acute cataract formation with increased fluid within the lens as in traumatic and osmotic cataract (hyperglycemia) as well as unsuspected lens injury. The affected lens is hypodense compared to the contralateral lens with a mean density difference of about 30 HU 3. If osmotically swollen, the lens will be larger than usual. CT is not the investigation of choice for the lens as radiation may worsen lens opacification. 

Treatment is surgical extraction of the lens nucleus from its capsule and replacement with an intraocular lens implant into the native lens capsule (the presence of an implant instead of the native lens is called pseudophakia).

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: ultrasound showing cataract
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  • Case 2: with retinal detachment
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  • Case 3
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  • Case 4
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  • Case 6: traumatic cataract
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  • Case 7
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  • Case 8
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  • Case 9: post traumatic
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