What are Cataracts?
A Cataract is the name given to an eye condition in which the lens inside the eye becomes progressively cloudy, resulting in blurred vision. Typically, it affects most of us as we get older and the true cause of it in many cases is unknown. Common symptoms of cataracts include colours becoming dull and yellowing, lighting appearing too bright or causing glare, and images may become blocked or distorted. Cataracts can develop in one or both eyes. If left untreated cataracts can lead to blindness. Around the UK and other developed world countries this is extremely rare.
The Cause of Cataracts
Cataracts form when the proteins which comprise our eye lenses begin to bond together to form lumps. When this happens light can no longer pass through our lenses, and the symptoms outlined above start to occur.
Why proteins in the lens start to do this is still unknown. Typically however, it begins to affect us as we get older. Most people who are over 65 will experience some changes in their lenses which in time will lead to the development of cataracts.
Though research is ongoing, experts believe other factors can bring on the disease. These include:
• Malnutrition – diets lacking regular antioxidant vitamin
• An injury to the eye
• Excessive exposure to sunlight and UV rays
• A family history of the disease
• Regular use of medications which contain steroids
• Alcohol and tobacco use
• Eye surgery
• Other conditions such as diabetes and uveitis
Sufferers of Downs syndrome, Werner’s syndrome, Atopic dermatitis, Myotonic dystrophy, and Occult tumours, have an increased risk of developing cataracts.
Cataract treatment involves replacing the cloudy lens with a new one. This surgery is one of the most successful in the world and has an extremely high success rate. It is routine eye surgery procedure and is normally performed under local anaesthetic.
Cataract Surgery Procedure
Most cases of cataract surgery involve numbing the eye using drops. A small incision is made into the cornea and an ultrasound machine is used to break the lens into small pieces. These pieces are removed via suction. A new intraocular lens is then inserted. Though complications can occur they are rare.
Generally after cataract surgery you are advised to avoid rubbing your eyes, washing with soap or shampoo, physical exercise or exerting pressure on your eyes of any kind. In essence should you undergo a cataract procedure, follow the advice of all the medical staff involved.
What to do if your Vision is Blurred?
In the first instance make an appointment to visit our practice for an eye examination.The optometrist who examines your eyes will be able to determine the cause and ascertain if a developing cataract is the cause of your visual blurring.
If you have noticed deterioration in your vision you should contact us and book an eye examination.