A cataract is a term for when the natural lens of the eye becomes cloudy. In its most advanced form, the pupil appears white and is the major cause of correctable blindness in the world.
In the earlier stages people may notice their vision is blurry (like looking through cloudy water) or have difficulty in appreciating colours and changes in contrast, driving, reading, recognizing faces and a sensitivity to light/glare – all of these gradually worsening. Initially, changes in the eye’s focus can be corrected with glasses. Eventually the cataract will prevent normal vision being possible. This is when surgery is considered. Usually occurring when people are in their 70’s or older, cataracts can, however, occur at any age, even at birth. Some illnesses such as diabetes, and some medications such as steroids like prednisone, can contribute to cataracts developing at an earlier age. Cataract surgery, as carried out by Hamilton Eye Clinic’s Ophthalmologists, uses techniques which enable the process to be painless and stress free. Usually spending less than 2 hours at a hospital, like Bridgewater Day Surgery, most people have the 20 minute procedure with local anaesthetic. The cloudy lens is removed and a new one replaces it. The replacement lens is manufactured in different strengths to enable a lens to be selected for your eye. This can be a transformation for some who may have worn glasses all their life, as they can now see well unaided. Often the recovery is quick – many people will see clearly the next day.