Top 5 threats to your eyes 3 of 5

We continue this series of top threats to your eyes by Mary Browne F.A.O.I. who is based at our Rathmines branch.  Cataracts are something we can look forward to see much more of as we all live longer.  Perhaps some day we can look forward to a less invasive solution to curing the problem.


There’s a lens inside the eye like a clear lump of jelly.  When we’re younger, it changes shape to help you focus up close.  Over time, this lens can become cloudy, causing blurred vision.

The lens in the eye is made up of water and protein.  With age, the protein tends to clump, causing the lens to become opaque.




  • Blurry vision
  • Glare at night time
  • Yellowing, or fading of colours
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Frequent need to change the spectacle prescription
  • Double vision in one eye

Risk Factors for Cataract

  • Age:

Over the age of 80, more than 50% of people will develop a cataract


  • Trauma:

After trauma to the eye or surrounding area, a cataract may develop


  • Congenital:

Children can be born with cataracts, or they can develop in childhood.


  • Secondary:

Can occur in UV exposure, diabetes, or as a complication after eye surgery.  Smoking is also thought to be linked  to cataracts.


  • Wear sunglasses
  • Don’t smoke
  • Diabetics should keep blood sugars under control.


  • A surgeon will make an small incision in the white part of the eye (sclera)
  • The cloudy lens is broken up, and then removed from the capsule (a clear membrane that holds it in place)
  • A clear artificial lens is inserted into the capsule, allowing light to pass through to the back of the eye again
  • Often, some time after the procedure has been carried out, there may be further blurring of vision due to thickening of the posterior part of the capsule.  This will mimic the effect of the original cataract.  This can easily be thinned with laser by an ophthalmologist in just a few minutes, returning the vision to the original post-operative clarity.