What is a Cataract ?
A cataract is an eye condition where clouding develops in the crystalline lens of the eye. This clouding can vary in its opacity and causes vision loss by reducing the light entering the eye. Cataracts typically progress slowly but are potentially blinding if untreated. The condition usually affects both the eyes, but almost always one eye is affected earlier than the other. Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in the over 50’s. There is growing evidence about the effect of ultraviolet light in the formation of cataract.
How Common are Cataracts ?
Cataracts are extremely common over the age of 65. Some opticians may not even mention that a cataract is starting to form, because it is of little significance and can be a cause of undue worry. If you have been told that you have cataracts, do not be alarmed. Many parts of body do not function as well as when we were younger. Cataracts are more common in younger people in poorer countries where they are exposed to high levels of UV and their eyes are not protected. Cataracts may also arise due to trauma, injury, diabetes, drugs, or other ocular diseases.
How might I know that I have a cataract ?
If you have blurred vision, your prescription is changing frequently, you feel a discomfort in your eyes, you may have a sense of shadows behind objects, you might have a cataract. Some forms of cataracts cause glare in bright conditions. Most cataracts develop so slowly that they are unnoticed, until they reach a stage that they are interfering your every day life or that they are picked up by your optician.
Diagnosis of Cataracts
There are several stages of the eye examination that your optometrist will notice the development of a cataract on the lens of your eye. When examining your eye with a slit lamp or when performing an ophthalmoscopy i.e. generally the optician is peering inside your eye with a hand-held opthalmoscope and you notice a light shining into your eye.
Other Options To Protect Your Eyes
As professional eye-care providers, we have a number of options to protect your eyes against the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. Most people talk about ultraviolet eye protection and think only about sunglasses. But ultraviolet protection can also be provided with some of the latest contact lenses.
What to do if I suspect I have cataracts.
As with most eye-conditions, early detection can lead to more effective and better treatment of the condition with less risk involved. At Mairead O’Leary Opticians, we understand the importance of eyesight and can relate to the effect vision loss can have on one’s life. We have the latest optical equipment using advanced technology to check for cataracts and other age related conditions such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. After your eye test, our team of optometrists and opticians can refer you on to specialists to obtain treatment for your cataracts if necessary. Call in to one of our branches if you suspect you may have a cataract developing, or know someone who may be suffering from cataracts.
What is involved in a cataract operation ?
Cataract operations are the most common operation carried out. They are usually carried out under local anastethic by a surgeon in a day procedure. A small slit is made in cornea and the old lens is broken up with an ultrasound probe and removed. A new manufactured lens is inserted in a total procedure lasting generally not more than twenty minutes. Its takes a few days to recover and you should notice an distinct improvement in your vision.
The following you tube link explains what happens in surgery
What will my sight be like after surgery ?
There are two main types of lenses which are implanted; mono focal or multifocal. Most implants are of the former type and corrective lenses will normally required for reading. Multifocal lenses can reduce dependency on spectacles but require greater preparation to determine what is right for you as some patients experience a reduction in contrast sensitivity or a halo and glare around lights at night.