Ophthalmology

Cataracts

Introduction to Cataracts

A cataract is a condition, which affects the lens of an eye, which becomes your sight to become cloudy.

Written by Doctify Team 27/04/2020

What are Cataracts?

A cataract is a condition, which affects the lens of an eye, which becomes your sight to become cloudy. Age-relating cataract known as senile cataract if the most common type, affecting approximately 1 in 3 people over the age of 65. Men and women are equally affected and often both eyes are affected. The cataract usually forms gradually over a number of years and most people don’t realise they have it. Some people will have their cataract diagnosed at a routine eye check, however in most cases their vision becomes worst over time.

What causes Cataracts?

The cause of a cataract is not clear. It is thought that it is caused by clumping of proteins within the lens. These proteins block parts of the light from getting through to the retina, causing areas of cloudiness in your vision. Factors increasing your likeliness to develop a cataract include: poor diet, diabetes, smoking, taking steroid medication, having a family history of cataracts, UV radiation from the sun, high blood pressure, obesity, taking statin medication and previous eye surgery or eye injury.

Cataracts

What are the symptoms of Cataracts?

The first sign of cataracts is blurry vision, however over time you may notice: spots in your vision, seeing halos around bright lights or becoming dazzled by bright lights, losing vision in brightly lit environments, reduced colour vision and gradually worsening vision.

How are Cataracts treated?

When symptoms begin to appear you can improve your vision by using visual aids such as magnification or new glasses. The only treatment for cataracts is surgery. It is a very common procedure with around 300,000 cataract operations in the UK each year. The operation usually takes around 10-20 minutes and involves removing the lens and replacing it with an artificial plastic lens. During the surgery the eye is numbed using local anaesthetic. The surgery is often done as a day case.

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