What is a Cataract?

A cataract is clouding within the natural lens of the eye which distorts light, making it difficult to see clearly. It is a progressive, painless condition that usually develops in both eyes at the same time and can cause reduced vision, or in some cases, even blindness. 

The causes of cataract can be from certain diseases, medications, and even smoking may speed up the progression of certain types of cataracts. Though most people who reach old age will develop a cataract, some are more likely to suffer from cataracts than others including:

  • Older people – it is estimated that one in three people over the age of 65 suffer from cataracts
  • People with a family history of the condition
  • People who have had a blow to the eye which can occasionally cause atraumatic cataract

What are symptoms of a Cataract?

Cataracts are painless and their symptoms vary from person to person. They can include:

  • Blurred vision
  • A gradual loss of colour vision – objects appear duller
  • Difficulty in reading
  • Poor vision in low light situations
  • Frequent changes of prescription glasses
  • An increased sensitivity to bright lights
  • Double vision, even with only one eye open

These symptoms do not necessarily indicate a cataract, but you should always visit your Doctor or Optometrist if you are worried.

Is there a treatment for cataract available?

Cataract treatment involves a routine operation, usually carried out as an outpatient procedure. During cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed and replaced by a synthetic one. 

How do I get help?

If you are worried you may have a cataract you should visit your Optometrist or Doctor at the earliest opportunity.

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