A cataract is a common condition of clouding of the lens in the eye. A patient will generally experience this as blurring or cloudiness of their vision in the affected eye. Other symptoms can include a change in colour perception, ghosting of vision and symptoms of glare. Cataract is more common with increasing age (particularly over 60 years of age) but also more commonly with some medical conditions such as diabetes but also in some other situations such as following trauma.
The only proven treatment for cataract is to have surgery. Surgery is necessary when vision cannot be corrected adequately with other methods – particularly spectacles or contact lenses. Fortunately, modern cataract surgery is a very successful operation with over 90% of patients having an excellent outcome. Modern cataract surgery consists of removal of the cloudy lens from the eye usually using a technique known as phacoemulsification. Following removal of the cloudy lens an artificial implant (known as an IOL) is inserted in the eye. The power of the IOL is chosen to enable the patient to obtain the best vision after the surgery. Some types of IOL can also correct astigmatism (so-called toric IOLs).
Cataract surgery is usually performed under local anaesthetic sometimes with sedation. The surgery only requires less than half a day in hospital.
Your surgeon at Harbour Eye Specialists will advise you if and when cataract surgery is appropriate for you.