A cataract occurs when the crystalline lens in the eye becomes cloudy. This can vary from a slight haze at the start of a cataract to the lens becoming completely opaque in advanced stages.
What causes a cataract?
Cataracts can form at any age, but most often are a natural consequence of getting older. They develop slowly and are painless. In younger people they can result from an injury, taking certain medication, long-standing inflammation, or illnesses. There is evidence to suggest that over exposure to UV light can also be a cause.
What are the symptoms?
Common symptoms may include the following:
• Blurred or hazy vision
• Colours not so distinctive
• Sensitivity to light
• Change in prescription, resulting in new spectacles being required
• Poor night vision
• A ‘halo’effect round lights
How do we treat Cataracts?
In the early stages of cataract, even a change of prescription can help, but as the symptoms and cataract progress then the most common form of treatment is surgery.
Cataract surgery is one of the most common types of surgery and is usually performed under a local anaesthetic without the need for an overnight stay.
The surgery involves the eye’s natural lens being replaced with a plastic intra ocular lens implant (IOL).
Usually 2-3 weeks after surgery your optometrist will examine your eyes and new spectacles will be needed after you have been given your final check-up at the hospital.
Michael Offord is an Independant Optometirst practice in Newcastle. If you would like to discuss this in more detail get in touch or leave us a comment.