Cataracts – What You Need To Know
What are cataracts?
Cataracts are the clouding of the lens with in the eye. It is one of the most common conditions we see in practice. Most people over the age of 60 have some form of cataract development, but don’t worry! It is a perfectly normal, age related process and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
What causes a cataract?
For most people cataracts are the result of aging. For some though it can be caused by trauma, medication (such as steroids), or even present at birth.
Who can get a cataract?
Everyone will develop a cataract at some point. Usually a cataract develops later in life, but they can occur at a younger age if they are caused by trauma or medication.
What will happen to my vision?
As the cataract grows in size and density you will find your vision becomes increasingly blurred and clouded. As they become more advanced you may find colours become muted and faces are harder to recognise.
For most people cataracts develop slowly over a long period of time. You may notice changes to your vision occur more frequently as they grow. But these changes can be rectified with an updated glasses prescription.
Is there a treatment?
Yes, although the only treatment for cataracts is surgery. When cataracts have reduced your quality of vision where it impacts your daily life you can be referred for surgery. This can be done privately or through the NHS.
What happens in the surgery?
The surgery will be performed under local anaesthetic. A small incision is made in the eye and the clouded lens is removed. A clear Intra Ocular Lens (IOL) is inserted in place of the old lens. The procedure itself takes roughly 10-30 minutes and you will return home the same day.
Will I need glasses afterwards?
This depends on the complexity of the prescription before surgery. For a lot of patients once their eyes have settled following surgery they require very little correction for their distance vision. For people with high prescriptions they will notice a significant improvement to their vision but may still have smaller residual prescription.
All patients who have a standard implant will need reading glasses as the IOL isn’t able to ‘flex’ to focus on close objects. A Multifocal IOL would remove your need for any glasses post operation, however these implants are not currently available on the NHS
What should I do if I think I have a cataract?
The first step is to book an eye examination. The Optometrist will conduct a full examination of the eyes and will able to identify if there is a cataract present and advise you accordingly.
Request your appointment here.