Worried about Cataracts?
We understand you may have questions about cataracts, let’s take a look at how they affect your vision, what steps you can take to prevent them, and what treatment is available.
What is a cataract?
Put simply, a cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens. This clouding changes or obstructs the passage of light into the eye and through to the retina, making vision blurry or dim.
Our eye’s lens behaves much like the lens in a camera. When a camera’s lens is dirty from obstructions like dust or oil from stray fingerprints, light can’t easily pass through the lens and images will appear dull and cloudy. Once a camera’s lens is cleaned, more light is able to pass through to the camera’s sensors, helping images become more bright, crisp, and vibrant—much like a cataract-free lens in our eye.
You’re more likely to get cataracts as you get older. In the UK, about a third of people aged over 65 have cataracts in one or both eyes.
Cataracts Offer Many Signs And Symptoms
Cataracts often begin small and go largely unnoticed. Over time, they grow larger and your vision may become dull or blurry, much like images from the smudged camera lens. Here are some common symptoms of cataracts:
- Clouded, blurred or dim vision
- Increasing difficulty with vision at night
- Sensitivity to light and glare
- Seeing “halos” around lights
- Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
- Fading or yellowing of colors
- Double vision in a single eye
Cataracts Aren’t Just Caused By Advanced Age
There are several potential causes for cataracts, but most are due to age-related changes in the lens. That being said, some risk factors include:
- UV radiation
- Family history
- Significant alcohol consumption
Prevention And Treatment Can Lead To Clear Vision
Cataracts can’t always be prevented, but simple practices can be put in place to maintain and promote healthy vision. Always remember to eat a nutrient-rich diet filled with fruits and vegetables, and be sure to protect yourself from harmful UV rays by wearing sunglasses and hats during outdoor activity.
Fortunately, when cataracts cannot be prevented, they can be treated with full restoration of vision. Early symptoms may be improved with new glasses, brighter lighting, or anti-glare sunglasses. If these measures do not help, surgery is the only effective treatment.
Surgical cataract removal is the most common operation performed in the UK, with more than 300,000 procedures carried out each year. It is a simple and highly successful procedure that consists of removing the clouded lens from the eye and replacing it with a clear, artificial lens. While each person heals differently, many patients report clear vision within hours of the surgery.