Cataracts explained – What you need to know
What is a cataract?
The lens in your eye is a small transparent disc that acts as a natural lens to focus light rays onto the retina. A cataract forms when blurry/cloudy patches (protein build up) appear in the lens and cause eye problems such as misty vision and eventual blindness.
What causes cataract?
There are many causes of cataracts including:
- Age – age-related cataracts affect people aged 65 and over (but there are cases of people in their 40’s and 50’s developing cataracts)
- Long-term exposure to the sun and its UV rays – especially so if the person doesn’t wear sunglasses to protect their eyes
- Eye injury – if someone has had trauma to their eye, or had eye surgery in the past, then they are more likely to develop a cataract
- Health problems – Diabetes and obesity have been known contributors to early cataract development
- Medicines – certain medicine, such as steroids, increase the risk of cataracts
What are the common signs of cataracts?
You may not notice that you have cataracts developing in your eyes as they often come on gradually over time. Here are some of the common signs of vision problems:
- Your eyesight may appear cloudy or blurry – you may initially think this is a problem with your glasses being dirty or the wrong prescription but the issue won’t go away even when you rectify these problems.
- You find light, especially sun light, too bright – you may find the glare from bright lights is too much and makes your eyes feel sensitive
- You find it harder to see things in low light – on the opposite side of the spectrum to the above bright light issue, you will also find that certain lighting is too dim to be able to read or see things properly
- Your vision will seem washed out – you may feel that everything you look at around you doesn’t look as bright and vibrant as it did before
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How can it be treated?
That’s where the team at Opticall comes in! You may not notice the symptoms of cataracts, mentioned above, and that is why it is important to have a regular eye examination with us, Opticall, your home visiting opticians. As part of our appointment with you we will carry out a comprehensive NHS sight test and eye health check.
Dependent on the severity/types of cataracts in your eyes, in mutual agreement with yourselves we may suggest stronger glasses and the facilitation of vision aids. Otherwise, we will refer you to an NHS ophthalmologist (hospital eye specialist) for further assessment and possible treatment.
Treatment involves cataract surgery. The procedure removes your natural lens and replaces it with an artificial lens implant (known as an intraocular lens). The surgery will make your sight clear again so you can see, live and enjoy life once more.
Your physical and mental well-being is important so don’t put up with eye problems and put off having an eye test. We are your completely mobile, home visiting opticians and can come and visit you in the comfort of your own home and carry out your eye examination.
Please telephone our friendly team on 020 8998 4228 to book your FREE NHS eye test and health check. If you have any questions we are happy to answer them so if you need further information before booking then call and talk to us.
For further information about cataracts please click on the following useful links:
- https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cataracts/ – The NHS’s dedicated webpage for cataracts.
- https://www.rnib.org.uk/sites/default/files/Understanding_Cataracts_NV.pdf – The RNIB ‘Understanding Cataracts’ leaflet has a wealth of information on cataracts.
- https://www.rnib.org.uk/eye-health/eye-conditions/cataracts – The RNIB dedicated cataracts page.
- https://patient.info/eye-care/visual-problems/cataracts – This Patient Info webpage has a doctor explaining the cataract condition.