What is a Cataract?
As shown in the diagram in the header above, the human eye contains a lens. The lens is transparent, however as we get older, this gradually becomes cloudy. This is known as a Cataract.
Most people will develop cataracts in their lifetime. Quite often one eye will be affected before the other. Ageing is the main cause of cataracts however, they may be formed due to injury to the eye, diabetes and by steroid use. You can also be born with cataracts, although only a very small number of babies are.
Cataracts and Vision
If you notice any of the following, this may be a sign of a developing cataract:
- Car headlights dazzle you
- You find it difficult to move from shade to the sunlight
- Colours look different through one eye compared to the other, more yellow or faded
- If you are long-sighted you may need your spectacles less than you used to
You can still drive with cataracts, as long as you meet the vision standards for driving. During your eye examination, your Optometrist will explain to you whether you meet these standards or not, and whether spectacles can improve this for you or not.
There are two main areas which can increase your risk of developing cataracts, that you can control:
For the latter, wearing a good quality pair of sunglasses, even in this country, may assist in reducing your risk. For further details on our UV protection options please click here.
If day to day tasks such as driving and cooking are being affected by your cataract(s), and own Optometrist and Dispensing Optician team cannot improve your vision enough with spectacles, we can refer you to an Ophthalmologist for surgery.
We have a number of different routes available to us to be able to provide you with the best possible care. Once the Optometrist has taken your medical history and current medications, they will assess your cataract, vision and the impact on your day to day. Once all of this information is gathered they will discuss with you the options available to you and the current proposed wait times for surgery. Depending on the information gathered this could be anything from 1 month to 18 weeks.
Once you have been referred you will be invited to an initial appointment. This is an information gathering session, where the outcome of the surgery can be discussed. It may be that you wore glasses for both distance and near, however after surgery, you may only need spectacles for reading. The specifics are unique to you, your general health, current prescription and other factors, but all available options will be discussed with you at this appointment.