Cataracts

 

A cataract is a clouding of the eye's natural lens, which lies behind the iris and the pupil. Cataracts are a common eye condition which causes vision to deteriorate in older people. Depending on how big the cataract is and where it is, it can interfere with your sight. This is because a cataract acts like frosted glass, causing your vision to become blurred.

Cataracts growth is just like frying an egg…when we are young the lens in our eye is clear - just like a raw egg white. But as we age the lens gets cloudy - just like a cooked egg white. It's no wonder it affects your vision. Cataracts usually form very slowly and develop in both eyes, although one may be worse than the other. Unfortunately, cataracts are just part of growing older.

Besides advancing age, cataract risk factors include:

  • UV radiation

  • Diabetes and hypertension

  • Obesity

  • Smoking and significant alcohol consumption

  • Prolonged use of certain medications

  • Previous eye injury, inflammation or eye surgery

  • Hormone replacement therapy

Types of cataracts include:

  • A subcapsular cataract occurs at the back of the lens. People with diabetes or those taking high doses of steroid medications have a greater risk of developing a subcapsular cataract.

  • A nuclear cataract forms deep in the central zone (nucleus) of the lens. Nuclear cataracts usually are associated with aging.

  • A cortical cataract is characterized by white, wedge-like opacities that start in the periphery of the lens and work their way to the centre in a spoke-like fashion. This type of cataract occurs in the lens cortex, which is the part of the lens that surrounds the central nucleus.

Many people consider poor vision an inevitable fact of aging, but cataract surgery is a simple, relatively painless procedure and is very successful in restoring vision.

​Common symptoms of cataracts are:

  • Blurry vision

  • Colours that seem faded or washed out

  • Increased sensitivity to glare from lights (e.g. sunlight or car headlamps)

  • Not being able to see well at night

  • Frequent prescription changes to eyewear

 

Treatment

 

As we get older many aspects of our vision change, therefore, it is important to make regular visits to your Visique optometrist. Surgery to remove the cataracts may be needed later, but until then your Visique optometrist can monitor any changes in your vision and help you to get the most out of your eyesight. At Visique we always include a check for cataracts in your regular eye examination.

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