Cataracts – what are they?

So, we’ve heard the word many times, and we know that cataracts are associated with the eyes, but do we actually know what cataracts are? Here’s the Specs123 guide to this eye condition that is commonly associated with the ageing process.

What exactly is a cataract?

The lens of your eye is positioned at the front of the eye and is clear, so providing clarity when you see. However, cloudiness can occur on the lens (a bit like a dirty window) and it is these patches that we refer to as cataracts.

Often associated with old age, cataracts can also be a symptom associated with injury to the eye, diabetes, genetics, smoking, too much exposure to bright sunlight, drinking too much alcohol as well as taking corticosteroids on a long-term basis.

What are the symptoms?

When cataracts occur, vision will become blurry, you will develop an increased sensitivity to light, colours may not seem as vivid as they did before, and your general level of vision will feel deteriorated. With no immediate pain associated with these symptoms usually, it can be easy to dismiss them as just the natural ageing process and, indeed, many people just accept the deterioration and make their own adjustments such as increasing the light level around them or altering their glasses prescription.

Is there a treatment?

Cataracts can be removed by an eye surgeon at hospital and the surgery takes away the blurry patches and replaces them with clear. By doing this, you are greatly improving your chances of better vision and it is actually the most frequently performed operation in the UK with an impressive success rate.

Recovery time is 4 to 6 weeks but it is, of course, the individual’s decision as to whether to proceed. Without treatment, symptoms will progress and eyesight will continue to deteriorate, either slowly or in some cases, more rapidly.