What are Cataracts?

Cataracts develop when protein builds up in the lens of your eye. Over time, the lens grows cloudy, and your vision becomes increasingly blurred and misty, eventually leading to blindness. The name of this eye condition comes from the Greek word ‘cataracti’, meaning ‘waterfall’, which accurately describes how it looks in its advanced stages. It’s very common so if your optometrist diagnoses you with cataracts, or you suspect you’re developing them, relax, you’re not alone and you have options.

What are the Symptoms of Cataracts?

The onset of cataracts is gradual. You may be unaware of any symptoms until they start to block the light. At this point, you might notice:

  • Cloudy, blurry, foggy or filmy vision
  • ‘Shadowing’ behind objects
  • Near-sightedness (in older people)
  • Changes in your perception of colour
  • Problems with night driving (glare, etc.)
  • Issues with glare during the day
  • Double vision
  • Glasses lenses look dirty even when they’re not
  • While cataracts aren’t typically painful or cause red eyes, they can be in advanced stages or accompanied by another eye condition

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, book an eye exam with your Cambridge optometrist, Anjana Taank.

What Causes Cataracts?

This condition can be age-related, congenital, secondary (the result of other medical conditions, like diabetes), or trauma-related after an injury to the eye. Diabetes, certain drugs, some ocular diseases, smoking, alcohol, a sedentary lifestyle, and excessive exposure to the sun can all be contributing factors.

It’s common in older adults so be sure to get an eye exam at least once a year, particularly if you have diabetes or a family history of cataracts and other eye problems.

Diagnosing Cataracts

Your optometrist will review your medical history and look closely at your eyes using an opthalmoscope. If you do have a cataract, your optometrist will be able to see that the lens of your eye is cloudy. Your lens may appear brown or white when a bright light is shone into your eye. Alternatively, you may be diagnosed as part of a routine eye test since changes in your eye lens can happen so gradually that you may be unaware of any symptoms.

Cataract Treatment in Cambridge

At the point when glasses fail to improve your sight, your best treatment option is surgery. Your cloudy lens will be removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens. The operation is typically very successful. With the clear lens, light will once again reach the retina at the back of your eye and restore your vision. Over 95% of patients who’ve undergone this surgery say they’re vision is greatly improved afterwards.

The procedure is undertaken as an outpatient and you’ll be able to return home the same day.

About Artificial Lenses

During surgery, your affected eye lens is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens, typically a monofocal, astigmatic, monovision, or multi-focal lens. Made from an inert material like silicone or acrylic, your new lens will restore clarity and can even correct previous near- or far-sightedness. It’s very common for patients to need spectacles following surgery and you’ll be advised to follow up with your optometrist four weeks after your operation.

Ask an Expert

Being diagnosed with cataracts can feel overwhelming but being armed with the facts will help you feel confident about making the right decisions for you. If you have questions about this or another eye condition, book an appointment today.

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