Cataracts are one of the most common visual problems seen, with most people over the age of 65 having some sign of cataracts. A cataract is a cloudiness that forms in the crystalline lens inside the eye, which over time becomes denser, making it difficult to see through.  Generally the development of cataracts is a gradual and painless deterioration in sight. Other symptoms can include blurred or hazy vision, spots before the eyes, difficulty reading small print, double vision, problems with night vision and night driving and increased sensitivity to glare.


While there is no way to prevent cataracts forming, vision can be restored by having the cloudy lens in the eye removed. Cataract surgery is usually performed when the cataract begins to interfere with functional vision. Cataract surgery is now a relatively minor procedure that is safe and effective, usually performed under local anaesthetic with light sedation by highly skilled eye surgeons (ophthalmologists). Almost all patients have improved vision following the surgery; however, many will still need spectacles for optimum focus, sometimes for distance vision or sometimes reading vision or both. The difference is they will have a clear intraocular (inside the eye) lens and not a cloudy lens. The longer surgery is delayed, the more complicated the procedure may become; a very advanced cataract is technically more difficult for the surgeon to remove. It was once recommended to leave the cataracts until they were quite advanced but due to significant improvements in cataract surgery equipment and technique most people are advised to have their cataract surgery a little earlier, generally when the cataracts start to have an impact on your functional vision. Thus it is important to have your eyes examined regularly, usually every 1-2 years from 60 years of age, or as advised by your optometrist or ophthalmologist, so that early signs of cataracts can be detected. The picture supplied is of a very, very advanced cataract. This patient would be essentially blind in this eye. In modern Australia this should never occur, surgery would be recommended well before this stage.


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Eye Conditions

Cortical Cataract

Nuclear Sclerotic Cataract

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