What are cataracts ?
Cataracts are a clouding of the crystalline lens of the eye. This in turn affects vision. Cataracts form for many reasons but the most common is age. It is normal for people over the age of 65 to have some mild form of cataracts. Causes of Cataract development include age, steroid use, trauma, radiation, or as a result of other eye conditions such as glaucoma. Cataracts can occur in one or both eyes, sometimes years apart, but it cannot spread from one eye to another.
The most common symptoms of cataracts are :
- Cloudy or blurry vision
- Glare sensitivity. Sunlight, lamps or headlights appear too bright
- Reduced or poor night vision leading to difficulty driving at night
- Colours appear faded
- A decrease in ablity to read without glasses
- Frequent prescription changes in your spectacles
Cataracts can be detected through a thorough eye examination. This involves doing an eye sight test on a chart, measuring the pressure of the eye using numbing drops and then instilling a second drop to dilate the pupils. With the pupils dilated, the eye doctor has an excellent view of the lens, and so can document the extent of the cloudiness. At the same time, examination of the retina, optic nerve and macular are also performed.
In the early stages when cataracts are forming, vision may be improved with a simple change in glasses prescription. As cloudiness progresses, the only treatment for cataracts is surgery.
The cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens usually made of acrylic material. A cataract is removed when vision loss interferes with daily life or it prevents the examination or detection of other eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration or glaucoma. Our centre is fully equipped for this procedure, to learn more about Cataract Surgery click here. After discussion with your eye doctor about the risks and benefits, you can make an informed decision about whether the operation is right for you. Once decided, you will need several measurements for the calculation of the implant power.
Modern day cataract surgery is very safe with a success rate of over 95%. As with any surgery there are associated risks which include cloudy vision, pressure rise, damage or dislocation of the lens, inflammation, infection, blindness or even loss of an eye. The serious complications are rare but need to be considered in your decision making. For most patients, having cataract surgery also provides the opportunity to eliminate glasses for some tasks.