What is a Cataract ?
The eye behaves just like a camera, as the lens inside the eye helps focus the light onto the retina. Cataract is a condition that is caused by the clouding of the lens within the eye which leads to the deterioration of vision. Cataracts are often age related, but not always. As cataracts are generally slowly progressing patients are not always aware of the changes that have occurred in their vision. An eye test can easily detect the presence of cataract.
What are the symptoms?
Some of the most common signs of a cataract are the following:
- It is difficult to read in low light conditions.
- Colours appear cloudy, blurred or faded.
- Headlights cause glare.
- Frequent change in prescription.
How is a cataract treated ?
When a cataract is in the early stages your optometrist may improve your vision by changing the prescription of your glasses, but if the new glasses do not help, it signals that the cataract is in an advanced stage and needs medical attention. Cataracts are treated by surgery which involves removing the clouded lens from inside the eye and replacing it with an artificial lens. Surgery is recommended when daily activities like reading or driving become a problem, or when quality of life is affected.
How is the surgery performed ?
The surgery should be a painless experience, with little to no discomfort during the operation. The procedure is usually performed under a local anaesthesia. First a small incision is made on the eye, then the surgeon uses a small ultrasonic instrument to remove the old clouded lens and insert the artificial lens which restores vision.
After the operation the patient is given antibiotic eye drops that prevent infection and help with the healing process.
Did you know that ?
Did you know that 90% of the population will develop a cataract before the age of 65 ? With over 2 million cataract surgery procedures being performed every year it is one of the most common surgeries performed on senior citizens.