Around half of Australians aged between over 65 to 74 have cataracts.
A cataracts is a cloudy area in the lens of the eye that interferes with vision by diffusing light as it passes through the eye. Symptoms can include:
- cloudy or foggy vision
- blurry or distorted vision
- changes in colour vision
- frequent increases in eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions
- poor night vision (especially affected by headlights)
- progressive loss of vision
- halos or glare around lights
- double vision
- loss of contrast
- a white or 'milky' spot over the pupil of the eye
A cataract may display a number of different symptoms and be caused by a variety of factors, including age, injury, and certain diseases.
Symptoms often develop so slowly they remain unnoticed until they start to have a more significant impact on your vision. After surgery our patients often make comments such as "everything is so bright" or "colours are so much more vibrant"; they simply hadn't been aware of the slow loss of vision and had just adapted.
While some people have cataracts at birth or develop them early in life, the majority of cataract diagnoses occur in patients who are in their 60s or 70s.
It is important for anyone over 50 to have a regular check-up with an Optometrist to ensure cataracts are caught early and either monitored or treated as appropriate.
Removal of a cataract may be necessary when vision has worsened to the point where daily activities, reading, driving and hobbies are affected, or if personal safety is at risk. If your vision is unaffected or only slightly affected, often no treatment is necessary.
Waiting until the cataract is fully mature before having surgery may result in additional risks such as high blood pressure, heart diseases, or diabetes. This may make the surgery more risky. If the fully mature cataract is not treated, it may cause other serious damage to the eye, such as secondary glaucoma or even blindness.
Cataract surgery involves removing the natural lens which has become discoloured and hard, and replacing it with an intra-ocular lens (IOL).
Most IOLs are fixed monofocal lenses designed to deliver optimum distance vision. However, other types are now available, such as bifocal or multi focal IOLs which provide focused vision for both distant and for reading distance; in many cases this will mean reading glasses may only be required for low light or very small print. Your doctor will advise you of the best option for you depending on your individual requirements and lifestyle.
Cataract surgery is usually done in a day surgery environment and takes approximately half an hour.
Cataracts cannot be cured by any type of medication, eye exercise, alternative therapy, diet or glasses. Surgery is the only way to remove a cataract.
We offer a FREE, no obligation suitability assessment: we will thoroughly examine and measure your eyes, and discuss the options that will suit your lifestyle and your eyes.
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