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Understanding cataracts, the symptoms and treatment

Post on 24th June 2024

Are you experiencing cloudy vision? Giving your spectacles a thorough clean might not be enough – the culprit could be cataracts.

At Scrivens Opticians & Hearing Care, with over 85 years of experience in eye health, we specialise in detecting and managing conditions like cataracts. Cataracts are the leading cause of impaired vision, particularly as we age. In fact, approximately one in three individuals over the age of 65 is affected by this common condition.


What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts develop when cloudy patches form on the clear lens inside your eye, preventing light from reaching the back of the eye and causing blurred or misty vision. Typically, cataracts occur in both eyes and can be identified during a routine eye test, which we recommend every two years.


Symptoms of Cataracts

The symptoms of cataracts can vary based on the severity and progression of the condition. Common signs include:

  • Blurry or Cloudy Vision: A gradual or sudden decline in vision, making it difficult to see fine details or read small print.
  • Usually appears in One Eye: Cataracts can occur in both eyes, but one eye usually more than the other.
  • Increased Sensitivity to Light: Bright lights or glare from sunlight, headlights, or other sources may become uncomfortable.
  • Difficulty Seeing at Night: Night vision may deteriorate, making driving or navigating in low-light conditions challenging.
  • Colours Appear Faded or Yellowed: Colours may look dull or yellowed, affecting the ability to distinguish between shades.
  • Poor Contrast and Depth Perception: Reduced contrast sensitivity and depth perception can make it harder to judge distances accurately.
  • Frequent Prescription Changes: As cataracts progress, you might need frequent updates to your glasses or contact lens prescription, though the new prescription may offer limited improvement.

It’s worth noting that cataracts are not usually painful and do not cause redness or irritation in the eyes.


Risk Factors

Certain factors can increase the likelihood of developing cataracts, including:

  • Family history of cataracts
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Eye injuries/trauma
  • Long-term use of steroids
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • A lot of exposure to UV light
  • Born with the cataracts (congenital cataracts)
  • Associated eye conditions-


Diagnosis and Treatment

In the initial stages your Optometrist will monitor your cataract. If you spend a lot of time exposed to UV light, they may recommend good quality UV sunglasses. If the cataracts are affecting your day to day activities, such as watching TV, reading, driving and your glasses are not helping to improve your vision, they may refer you to an eye doctor (Ophthalmologist) for assessment and surgery.

Surgery is the only proven treatment method for cataracts, treatable with a routine outpatient procedure to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear plastic lens. However, it’s important to remember that these symptoms can also be associated with other eye conditions. Therefore, if you notice any changes or problems with your vision, it’s crucial to consult your optician for an accurate diagnosis.


Need Help?

If you have concerns about cataracts or your eye health, visit your local Scrivens branch for expert advice and support.

Stay informed, and don’t let cataracts cloud your vision!

Did you find this blog useful? You might also be interested in our post on eye floaters.