What is a cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye. The affected lens becomes like frosted glass and the vision becomes misty often causing glare during bright conditions or with car headlights at night. A common misconception is the belief that a growth of skin forms over the eye. This is not the case.

What causes cataracts?

The main cause of cataracts is clouding of the lens with age. Other causes include: Smoking, exposure to sunlight and radiation. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma to the eye and side effects from certain medications such as long term steroids. Some people may have Cataracts from birth.

Signs & Symptoms:

Cataracts do not hurt or cause any pain. Cataracts can go unnoticed for a while and develop over years.

Depending on the type of Cataracts they may cause symptoms of reduction of vision often causing glare during bright conditions or haloes around lights at night with street lights or car head lights. A person suffering from Cataracts may also notice yellow / brown tinge and/or a faded/washed out appearance of colours.

Prevention & Treatment:

Using 100% UV protected sunglasses protects the eyes whilst not smoking and eating a healthy balanced diet may also help to prevent the onset of Cataracts.

Surgery involves removing the affected lens and replacing it with a special plastic one called an implant. More advanced surgery and implant technology can now correct astigmatism and the need for reading glasses after surgery vision.

Our view

There can be several reasons for failing sight in old age. By carrying out an extended eye examination with dilated pupils your specialist will be able to advise you on the best action. If necessary they would be able to refer you for cataract surgery on the NHS or privately. If you feel

your vision is deteriorating and you are having difficulty its always best to see your specialist optometrist at an early stage.

Article written by

Mr K.Lakhani BSC MCOptom Dip Tp Ip

Special Optometrist

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