Health: Cataracts

If the lens inside your eye becomes cloudy, it is known as a cataract. Cataracts usually occur over the age of sixty but can occur at any age. It is even possible to be born with cataracts (congenital cataracts)

Cataracts are thought to be caused by a number of things including excessive exposure to UV radiation found in sunlight, smoking and poor diet. Additionally they can be caused by other health problems such as diabetes.

Cataracts cause a number of visual problems including blurred or cloudy vision, dazzle and glare from sunlight or bright lights and it can affect your colour vision by making everything appear “washed out”.

If you are told you have cataract following an eye check, do not be alarmed as the vast majority can be successfully treated. If you notice any of these problems please book an eye test as soon as possible as you can be placed on a waiting list for treatment as early as possible.

Cataract is treated most effectively by removing the cloudy lens. These days, the procedure is carried out as soon as it begins to affect your quality of life. The operation is the most common performed in the UK and it has superb rates of success compared to other types of operation generally.

It is generally carried out under local anaesthetic on an outpatient basis and the operation lasts as little as twenty minutes. Once the cloudy lens has been removed through a tiny opening, it is replaced with a new clear plastic lens. The power of this lens is calculated so that you may not need glasses anymore (or only need a small prescription) for distance, though you will still need glasses for reading.