We’ve all heard of cataracts, but not many fully understand what they are.
Usually developed as we get older, it is the loss of clarity in the lens of the eye, due to its proteins clumping together which becomes a barrier to the smooth passage of light into the eye. The lens itself sits just behind the pupil of the eye.
Cataracts can also be a result of other events such as trauma and surgery. Poor health like diabetes can also encourage them to develop, as can smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and some medications.
Early stages of cataract development can go unnoticed, but gradually they do become more disturbing to the vision especially in the over 60 Age group. Symptoms can be blurred vision, glare and haloes from bright light along with loss of colour definition.
It is quite simple for an Optometrist to diagnose a cataract, and they will be able to discuss the best way to deal with them, by either appropriate upgrade of your spectacle correction or consideration can be given to surgical treatment.
The time to treat depends on a number of factors, such as the risks involved balanced against the likely level of visual improvement. Consideration is given to how much the cataract is affecting every day life and what other problems with the eyes might influence the outcome.
The operation to remove the cataracts usually involves small key-hole surgery to remove the misty lens from inside the eye and replace it with a clear implant lens. It is a relatively simple and routine operation performed many times by Ophthalmologists, and once done will not need doing again. Occasionally tissue around the implant will lose clarity; this is easily removed by a specialist laser and does not require further surgery.
After a few weeks following the treatment, the eye will be fully recovered and you will need to get your spectacle prescription updated as the new vision may well be quite different from before the treatment.