All about Cataracts

Patients can become very concerned when they hear they are developing cataracts.

Cataracts are certainly nothing to be blasé about, but many are relieved to hear they are a part of the normal ageing process. Most if not all of us, will develop a cataract in our lifetime.

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s internal lens. This stops our eye from receiving clear images, making them blurred and fuzzy. Cataracts tend to affect people over 60, although rarely children may be born with cataracts.

For those who want to minimise risk, certain factors may cause a cataract to develop earlier. Though advancing age is the most common risk factor, some studies indicate that diet, exposure to light and smoking may be related. Diabetics and those who are more readily exposed to UV light may develop cataracts earlier.

Some of the more common symptoms experienced by those with cataracts include:

  • Blurred or foggy vision
  • Feeling as if you have a ‘film over your vision’
  • Regular changes in prescription
  • Changes in colour vision where objects often look dull or washed out
  • Problems with glare, and sensitivity to car headlights or internal lighting
  • Double vision

A comprehensive vision examination is always recommended to assess the type and severity of a cataract. Though an advanced cataract will require surgery, many early or developing cataracts can benefit from a change in prescription or a specialised tint to reduce glare.

Contrary to popular belief, cataract surgery does not involve the ‘scraping of a film’ off the front surface of the eye! The internal lens of your eye is in fact surgically removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens. With our ageing population, cataract surgery has very quickly become one of the most commonly performed surgeries. Most patients return home on the same day as the surgery and recover quickly.

For more information, or to ask a question about cataracts book a comprehensive vision examination with your Optometrist.

About John

John Boyle is an Optometrist practising at Hawera Eyecare. He has an interest in both surgical and medical treatments for those with age-related eye conditions.