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What is Cataracts?
Many people over 60 years of age have some cataract, but it can take years before the change in vision interferes with daily life.

How can a cataract affect your sight?

  • Blurred vision
  • Large changes in prescription
  • Dazed by light (glare problems)
  • Colours look faded

(These eye problems may be a sign of other eye conditions too. If you suffer from any of the above, please contact your local branch.)

What causes Cataracts?
Cataracts are most often age-related, caused by life-long exposure of the eye to UV light. They can also be caused by secondary eye conditions (e.g. diabetes), or side effects from certain prescription drugs (e.g. steroids) or injury to the eye.

Help and Advice:

A healthy balanced diet with plenty of vitamins, together with regular exercise is essential to maintain healthy eyes and can help prevent cataracts.

You should also protect your eyes from harmful UV light by wearing glasses or sunglasses which filter UV light. Some contact lenses can now block UV light too.

Cataracts can now be removed by a relatively simple, routine operation performed under local anaesthetic. Your local Duncan and Todd optometrist will advise if an operation is recommended (this will depend on how advanced the cataract is).

The procedure takes about 20 minutes, and patients are generally allowed home the same day. The operation consists of removing the cloudy lens via a small tube, and inserting a folding artificial lens in its place. Once the eye has fully recovered, a change of spectacle prescription is generally required.

If you are not ready for a cataract operation there are ways to reduce your symptoms and maximise your vision. These include:

  • Anti-reflective coatings on your glasses to reduce glare
  • Fixed tint, photo-chromatic or polarised lenses
  • Wearing a hat to reduce glare
  • Task lighting for close work tasks (e.g. angle-poise lamp)
  • Attending regular eye examinations

The cataract won't return. In some cases, the capsule which supports the artificial lens may become cloudy, giving a similar effect to a cataract. Your optometrist will be able to advise you if this has happened, and it can be cleared with a simple laser treatment.