Cataracts

Cataracts are opacities that develop in the crystalline lens and obstruct vision. If cataracts are present in both eyes, one eye may be more affected then the other, vision may;

  • be blurred
  • be cloudy or misty
  • have small spots or dots on it (patches where your sight is not as clear)
  • contrast between objects is reduced

 

Cataracts develop for many reasons but the most common type is due to age – the crystalline lens (the transparent structure at the front of the eye) becomes thicker, more yellow and more opaque. If the cataracts are mild, there may not be any noticeable symptoms to start with.

 

Sight may be affected by the light. For example, it may be more difficult to see:

  • if the light is dim
  • when the light is bright, such as on a very sunny day, or in bright artificial light

 

Other ways that cataracts may affect sight can include:

  • the glare from bright lights may be dazzling or uncomfortable to look at
  • colours may look faded or less clear
  • everything may have a yellowish tinge
  • reading, watching television and other daily activities may be more difficult than they used to be
  • double vision (seeing two images of an object instead of one)
  • a halo (a circle of light) around bright lights, such as car headlights or street lights
  • glasses, finding that they have become less effective

 

Treatment for cataracts involves a common surgical procedure to remove the opaque lens and to replace it with an artificial lens (intra-ocular lens). Reduction in the amount of UV light reaching the eye for example by wearing UV blocking sunglasses can slow the development of the cataract. It advised that annual eye examinations are carried out to observe the progress of the cataract.