Cataracts

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Cataracts


 

Who experiences cataracts:

 

  • Occurs naturally as we age
  • Many of us will develop a cataract by the age of 65

 

Symptoms of cataracts:

 

  • Clouding or hardening of the lens in your eyes
  • Cloudy or blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Frequent prescription changes for glasses or contact lenses
  • Poor night vision
  • Colour vision changes and dimming
  • Double vision in a single eye

 

Causes of cataracts:

 

  • Occur as a result of other eye diseases
  • Protecting your eyes from direct sunlight may also slow the formation of cataracts
  • Less common causes of cataracts include:
    • heredity
    • birth defects
    • chronic diseases such as diabetes
    • excessive use of steroid medications
    • certain eye injuries
  • There is no way to prevent cataracts, however the following factors increase the risk of cataracts:
    • smoking
    • high blood pressure
    • obesity
    • excessive alcohol intake

 

What to do:

 

  • At first, symptoms may be undetectable or very slight, any noticeable change in vision may be cause for concern, and should be brought to the attention of an eye care professional
  • Vision may be slightly improved using forms of visual correction in the beginning stages of cataracts, such as:
  • Spectacles
  • Contact lenses
  • Surgery – in the later stages surgery has proven to be extremely successful in the removal of cataracts when your natural lens is replaced with an intraocular lens (IOL)

 

There are three standard forms of surgery for cataracts:

 

  • Standard single vision IOL - a fixed lens (it doesn't move) that is designed to deliver improved vision at one distance (usually far), you may need to wear glasses for near and intermediate vision, even if you didn't wear glasses before surgery
  • Multifocal lens - uses multiple visual zones that are built into the lens to provide vision at various distances, usually near and distance vision but intermediate vision (at arms length) may be compromised. A multifocal IOL projects multiple images, requiring your brain to adjust to the differences, but some patients have difficulty adjusting to seeing this way. Multifocal IOLs can have potential issues of glare and halos especially when driving at night
  • Accommodating lens - designed to "flex" or "accommodate" using the eyes natural muscles to focus on subjects at various distances, delivering a fuller, more natural range of vision

 

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