What is a cataract?

Our eyes are made up of different parts, each with their own important functions. Inside the eye, just behind the colured part (the iris) with a black hole in the middle (the pupil) is the natural lens. Normally the lens is clear and its main function is to focus light into our eyes for clear vision. When a cataract develops the natural lens becomes cloudy and prevents light from passing through it.

At first, a cataract has little effect on vision but as time goes by a gradual blurring of vision which can’t be corrected by wearing glasses may occur. Cataracts may develop in one eye or both eyes.

The vision changes causes by a cataract may include:
  • Blurry vision
  • High sensitivity to light
  • Seeing double
  • Difficulty seeing at night. This can especially affect driving.
  • Seeing bright colours as more faded (or yellow instead)

Ageing is the most common cause of cataracts as the ageing process causes proteins in our eyes to break down leading to the natural lenses becoming cloudy. Besides advancing age, cataracts have also been linked to increased exposure to UV light, diabetes, smoking, taking certain medications and having a family history of cataracts amongst other risk factors. Although the majority of cataracts are age-related, cataracts can also develop in children and young people.

Surgery is the only way to remove a cataract and obtain clear crisp vision once again. This is often a straight forward procedure were the affected lens is removed and replaced with a clear, artificial lens during surgery. At this point, one can discuss with the eye surgeon about the various options available for an implanted lens.

Ask about:
  • A lens that gives excellent sharp distance vision. Reading glasses will only be needed for close up tasks.
  • A lens for astigmatism. If you have astigmatism this can also be treated during this surgery and the result will be much sharper vision.
  • Getting rid of your spectacles. If you wish to have spectacle independence, and never need reading glasses again, you can be implanted with a lens that offers clear sharp vision at all distances.

Alcon’s PanOptix lens is one of the most implanted cataract replacement artificial lens worldwide. The PanOptix lens enhances the quality of vision as well as range so that you will be able to see effortlessly again. It is the first and only trifocal lens available and it is also available with astigmatism correcting technology.

Have a look at how different qualities of vision you can obtain by clicking here

Since cataracts have also been linked to exposure to the suns UV rays it is also recommended to wear sunglasses which block out the sun’s UV rays when you are outdoors.

If you think you may have a cataract or if you have risk factors for developing cataracts it is always to visit your eye specialist for a comprehensive exam.