Cataracts

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Cataracts

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What is a Cataract?

A cataract is a loss of clarity within the lens of the eye. A normal lens is clear and allows light to pass to the back of the eye. When a cataract forms, the lens becomes stiff and cloudy, which blocks the passage of light to the retina.

What Causes Cataracts?

Cataracts are a normal part of ageing and typically form after the age of 45. As we age, proteins within the lens of your eyes build up, forming a cloudy mass also known as a cataract. Over time, the cataract may continue to grow and cloud more of the lens, which gradually leads to a loss of vision.

Genetics, sun exposure and some medications can also cause cataracts to form.

What are the Symptoms of Cataracts?

  • Cloudy or filmy vision
  • Changes in the way you see colours
  • Problems driving at night because of glare from car headlights
  • Problems with glare from lamps or the sun
  • Frequent changes in your glasses prescription (increasing short-sightedness)
  • Double vision

If these symptoms begin to interfere with your daily routine or are present to the point of causing pain, we recommend you to book an appointment with a LASERSIGHT Consultant Optometrist.

How will a LASERSIGHT Doctor Diagnose a Cataract?

Cataracts are detected through a comprehensive eye exam that includes:

1. Visual Acuity Test - an eye chart test that measures how well you see at various distances.

2. Dilated Eye Exam - your eye care professional places drops in your eyes to dilate the pupils, before using a special magnifying lens to examine your eyes for signs of damage and other eye problems.

3. Tonometry - an instrument measures the pressure inside the eye. Numbing drops may be applied to your eye for this test.

Are There Different Types of Cataracts?

Yes. Other than age-related cataracts, other types include:

  • Congenital Cataracts - babies are sometimes born with cataracts as a result of an infection, injury, or poor development.
  • Secondary Cataracts - these develop as a result of factors like pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, medication, smoking, ultraviolet light and exposure to radiation.
  • Traumatic Cataracts - these form after an injury to the eye.

How do I Prevent the Onset of Cataracts?

Environmental and behavioural risk factors such as exposure to sunlight and smoking can be addressed in order to delay the development of cataracts. For example, wearing sunglasses and a hat to block ultraviolet sunlight and protect the eyes.

Quick Tip: A general eye check-up is recommended once every two years for people over 45 years of age. Early detection and treatment with your LASERSIGHT doctor will prevent cataracts from progressing, ultimately saving your sight.

What are the Long Term Implications of Cataracts?

Cataracts are the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness. People suffering with cataracts have a reduced quality of life due to the following implications:

  • See images as if through a foggy film
  • Have difficulty driving, reading, seeing traffic when crossing the road
  • Have difficulty judging depth
  • Are sensitive to glare and light
  • Have dulled colour vision

What are the Treatment Options for Cataracts?

  • Cataract Surgery
    Cataract surgery is very successful in treating cataracts and restoring vision. The operation involves removing your clouded lens from your eye and replacing it with a clear, acrylic intraocular lens.

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If you need further information our friendly operators are available to discuss your personal needs. Live chat is also available or take our free vision assessment.