What are cataracts?
A cataract is a loss of clarity within the lens of the eye that causes deteriorated vision.
The lens is responsible for focusing light to produce sharp images on the retina, but due to the aging process and over time, cataracts cloud the lens so that light cannot pass clearly to the retina and vision becomes impaired.
Cataracts usually develop in both eyes. However, one eye usually worsens faster than the other. Whilst cataracts do not get better on their own, excellent results are achieved with cataract surgery.
Find out more about cataract surgery.
Why do cataracts occur?
Though they can be due to other causes, such as injury, certain diseases and other risk factors, the majority of cataract diagnoses are ‘age related’ and become noticeable in patients who are in their 60’s and 70’s.
As we age, everything in our body grows old including the structures of the eye. As the balance of fluids and nutrients in the lens is disrupted, blurring or clouding of the lens causes a reduction in the amount of light able to reach the retina.
The exact age of onset, rate of progression and severity varies from person to person, but over half of those aged over 55 years have some degree of cataract development.
Cataracts can also occur earlier in life, secondary to diabetes, trauma, long-term steroid use and other drugs, or they can be congenital. Whatever the cause of your cataracts, NewVision Clinics can offer you treatment that gives you clear vision.
What are the symptoms of a cataract?
Though cataract symptoms may appear slowly and painlessly, over time they grow and cloud more of the lens, progressively obstructing vision. Symptoms include:
- Cloudy, blurred or fuzzy vision
- Sensitivity to light and glare (especially when driving at night)
- Increased nearsightedness, requiring frequent changes in the spectacle prescription
- Dulled colour perception
How are cataracts diagnosed?
The presence of cataracts will generally be found during the course of a routine eye examination. If they are thought to be significant, you will be referred to an ophthalmologist or eye surgeon. At NewVision Clinics we provide pre-operative consultations as well as surgical removal of your cataracts and postoperative care.
How are cataracts treated?
Though a stronger spectacle prescription, the use of brighter lighting or magnifying lenses may temporarily help improve your vision; ultimately surgery will be the only effective treatment for your cataracts.
Dr Noel Alpins is a renowned expert in the field of cataract surgery and carries out about 500 cataract surgeries a year.
This painless day surgery involves a relaxing sedative and topical anaesthetic, then microscopic removal of the cloudy lens and replacement with a carefully selected custom made implantable lens. Typically the surgery takes less than 30 minutes and you are able to go home within a few hours.
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