Cataracts - Everything you need to know!

Cataracts - Everything you need to know!

in Eyecare Tips July 12, 2018

One of the most common conditions that we diagnose at Urquharts is Cataracts.

Cataracts result in a decrease in vision due to a clouding of the lens in the eye. This is a gradual process and it can affect one or both eyes. It does not hurt, but it may result in issues with driving, reading or recognising faces.

Did you know that approximately 20 million people worldwide are blind due to Cataracts. 

What causes Cataracts?

Cataracts is mainly the result of aging but they can also occur as the result of trauma, medication (mainly steroids) or radiation exposure. Occasionally it can also be present from birth. 

What are the risk factors with Cataracts?

Risk factors include diabetes, smoking, alcohol and prolonged exposure to sunlight. One recommendation that we would always make is to use sunglasses to reduce exposure to sunlight and ensure a healthy and balanced diet.  

Why does the vision go cloudy?

Vision is clouded by an accumulation of clumps of protein or yellow-brown pigment in the lens of the eye that reduces the transmission of light to the retina at the back of the eye.  

Are there different types of Cataracts?

Yes, there are four main types.
  1. Nuclear
  2. Cortical
  3. Posterial Subcapsular
  4. Christmas Tree Cataract 

Can Cataracts be treated?

The only proven treatment for Cataracts is surgery.

Surgery is needed only if the cataracts are causing problems and many people live with Cataracts for years before getting them removed. The surgery is carried out under local anaesthetic and has a very high success rate. 

Is this surgery provided on the NHS?

Yes, although NHS Ayrshire and Arran have recently changed their cataract criteria so less people are having their cataracts removed. This is largely due to increasing demands and the need to prioritise those who need it most. Visual Acuities now need to be 6/15 or worse, binocular, or 6/36 for the second eye to be treated.

 About 9 of 10 patients can achieve a corrected vision of 6/12 or better after surgery.

Alternatively, a private referral can be made which costs approximately £2,500 Per Eye.

Can there be complications post surgery?

Yes. Post operative complications include: Infection, inflammation, bleeding or swelling at the back of the eye, retinal detachment and capsular opacifiation. 

Are spectacles necessary following the surgery?

After cataract surgery most people need to wear glasses for either distance, near vision or both.  

If you have other questions about Cataracts, please just ask and we will be delighted to answer them.