What are Cataracts?

Cataracts are formed when the clear lens inside your eye becomes cloudy or misty. This is a gradual process that usually happens as we get older. It does not hurt. The early stages of a cataract do not necessarily affect your sight, but if your sight becomes very impaired you may be referred for surgery to replace the cataract with a clear artificial lens. This surgery is carried out under a local anaesthetic and has a very high success rate.

How Might Cataracts Affect My Vision?

Who is Affected by Cataracts?

Cataracts mainly develop in those aged 65 or older. Younger people can develop cataracts following an injury to the eye. Some medical conditions such as diabetes, or taking some sorts of medication such as steroids, may also cause cataracts. Smokers are also more likely to develop cataracts than non-smokers and there may also be a link between UV rays (sunshine) and cataracts. A very small number of babies are born with a cataract.

What are the Symptoms of Cataracts?

If you have cataracts you may notice that your vision is less clear and distinct. Car headlights and streetlights can become dazzling, and you may experience difficulty moving from shade to sunlit areas. Colours may look faded or yellowed.

Many people with a cataract notice that they need to change the prescription for their glasses more often than they used to. If you are long-sighted, you may even notice that you need your glasses less than you did before you had the cataract!

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