A quick guide to cataracts
Cataracts are very common and a major cause of visual impairment worldwide. This condition occurs when the lens within the eye becomes opaque or cloudy, leading to blurry vision. Cataracts are usually age-related, and most people aged over 65 will suffer some degree of impaired vision caused by cataracts at some point.
What causes cataracts?
Cataracts form when ageing, trauma or medical conditions change the tissue in the eye’s lens. The tissue breaks down and clumps together, resulting in cloudy areas. Age is the primary causes of cataract formation; however, some genetic disorders can also increase their risk. Cataracts can also be caused by various other eye disorders, previous eye surgery or systemic conditions, such as diabetes.
What are the symptoms?
Cataracts develop slowly and they’re unlikely to affect your eyesight early on. However, with time, cataracts will begin to disturb your vision, making it harder to carry out tasks such as reading, watching TV and driving. You may also find it difficult to recognise faces. Colours appear much less vivid and you may notice that your eyes are sensitive to light or that you have glare. One big sign that you may have cataracts is that you need frequent changes to your glasses prescription.
You should make an appointment with an eye specialist if you start to notice any changes in your vision. If you develop sudden vision changes, including more serious symptoms such as double vision, flashing lights, eye pain or headache, it’s important to seek help.
What is the treatment for cataracts?
Initially, eyeglasses and stronger lighting may be all the help you need to deal with cataracts. But if the condition leads to impaired vision that interferes with your usual daily activities, you may require surgery. The good news is, cataract surgery is a safe and effective procedure, if done with expertise. It can be carried out under both local or general anaesthesia and involves replacing the cloudy lens inside your eye with an artificial one that’s made from acrylic. Done correctly, it has a good success rate for improving vision.
Mr Jutley uses topical anaesthesia and small incisions: hence recovery time for cataract surgery is extremely speedy, ensuring you will be able to return to work the day after the procedure. You should avoid swimming and heavy lifting for a month after surgery.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of cataracts, don’t hesitate to book a consultation with Mr. Gurjeet Jutley, a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon with a wealth of experience in the field. He diagnoses and treats many different types of eye conditions and can provide expert advice to help you maintain optimal eye health.