What is a cataract?

A cataract in the eye occurs when the lens, a small transparent disc inside the eye, develops cloudy patches.

A cataract can cause reduced vision and eventually blindness if left untreated and usually develops in both eyes at the same time. Many people who reach old age will develop a cataract, while some groups of people are more likely to suffer from cataracts than others, including:

  • Older people – it’s estimated that 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 suffer from cataracts.
  • People with a family history of this medical condition
  • A blow to the eye- a blow can occasionally cause a traumatic cataract
  • People who suffer from conditions such as diabetes 
  • People who take certain medications or smoke- especially smoking can speed up the progression of certain types of cataract


How do I know if I have a cataract?

Cataracts are painless and their symptoms can vary from person to person. They may include:

  • Blurred vision
  • A gradual loss of colour vision - objects appear duller
  • Difficulty reading
  • Poor vision in low light situations
  • Frequent changes of prescription glasses
  • An increased sensitivity to bright lights
  • Double vision, even with only one eye open

These symptoms do not always indicate a cataract, however, you should always visit your Optician or doctor if you’re worried.


Is there a treatment available for cataract?

A cataract in the eye can be treated by a routine operation. The cloudy lens is removed and replaced by a synthetic one. The operation is usually carried out as an outpatient procedure. It has a high success rate in improving your eyesight and it can take from 2 to 6 weeks to fully recover.


How do I get help?

If you’re worried you may have acataract in your eye, you should book an appointment with your Optician or doctor at the earliest opportunity.

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