Cataracts occurs when changes in the lens of an eye cause vision to become unclear or blurry.
- Blurry/Clouded vision
- Seeing small spots or patches
- Difficulty when looking into dim or bright light
- Double vision
- Brownish tinge
- Halo around lights
- Glasses becoming ineffective
Cataracts is more common with geriatric patients, in the UK those over 65 are likely to develop cataracts. Moreover, men and women are both equally susceptible to cataracts.
A family history of cataracts can lead to its development later in life, however diabetes, eye surgery, long life corticosteroid medication, poor diet, smoking and life long exposure to sunlight increase the risk of its development. Presently, there is no single cause nor prevention of cataracts.
In most cases, new glasses and better lighting can be used to treat mild cases. However, usually people will undergo cataracts surgery.
The surgery takes place within around 45 minutes. The most common technique used in cataract surgery is known as phacoemulsification. In most cases, eye drops are used to apply local anaesthetic to the eye, however in some cases it is injected. The eye is thoroughly cleaned to reduce the risk of infection. The surgeon will then make a small incision in the cornea, after this a probe that releases ultrasound waves is inserted through the cornea of the patients eyes. The probe uses the waves to shatter the affected lens into small pieces. These pieces are then liquified so that they can be sucked out and removed at ease. After the removal of the lens a new artificial lens is placed in the old lenses position. The lens unfolds itself within the eye after it is injected. A small number of stitches are then put in place to close the cornea, which are removed after a few weeks.
One downfall of the procedure is that it can be difficult for a patient to readjust to life now that one of their eyes’ vision has been altered. They may find that the eye that has not been operated on is causing discomfort and may later opt to have the surgery performed on the other eye.