Cataracts: Causes, Symptoms, Surgery and Prevention

Jun 25, 2024

Cataracts: What Are They, How Are They Removed and Can I Prevent Them?

You know that feeling when you wake up and have to blink a few times to clear away any sleep and focus on what’s in front of you? Well, cataracts are a bit like that, except when you blink, the blurry image doesn’t disappear.

Cataracts can be a very upsetting eye health problem, not only affecting your vision’s clarity but also your sense of perception, colours, and quality of life. Thankfully, removing cataracts is a straightforward procedure to restore your vision.

What Are Cataracts?

Cataract is a type of eye disease that affects the lens of your eye. Over time, the lens behind your pupil loses its natural transparency, resulting in a cloudy film over the lens and blurred vision. There are various levels of cataracts, and we don’t always spot them at first; that’s why it’s important to visit your optician regularly! Cataracts can cover just a fragment or the entirety of your eye lens, which will determine the best course of action to remove them.

How Do You Get Cataracts?

If you have cataracts, rest assured you’ve done nothing wrong! It is a natural ageing process when the efficiency of the eye lens weakens, resulting in a white, cloudy film forming. This film blurs your line of sight with colours fading, objects losing focus, and your quality of vision diminishing. This can be an extremely uncomfortable experience, but one that can be easily resolved.

What Happens To My Vision If I Have Cataracts?

Cataracts can impact both short and long-sightedness. You’ll start to notice that you can’t quite focus on distances or objects don’t look as sharp as they once did; instead, they have a fuzzy edge. Colours will also appear dull, and your overall vision will be irritable and distorted. If left, your eye lens will only become cloudier, and your vision won’t improve.

Cataract Signs and Symptoms

The obvious and most common sign of cataracts is blurred vision caused by the cloudy film we’ve mentioned. But there are other indications that you could have cataracts. If you notice any of these, we recommend booking an optician’s appointment ASAP.

Common symptoms of cataracts include:

  • A cloudy film appears over your eye
  • Blurred or reduced level of vision
  • Struggling to focus on objects and distances
  • Dull colours
  • Limited night vision
  • Increased sensitivity to light

How Are Cataracts Removed?

If you have cataracts, it’s important not to leave them untreated. They cannot be solved by medicine or glasses, so if you spot cataract symptoms, book to see your optician. Once confirmed, you’ll receive an appointment with your local hospital to have your cataracts surgically removed.

Cataract Surgery

It may seem scary, but cataract surgery is a standard, painless and effective procedure, with over 300,000 operations happening yearly. You will have to go to the hospital for the appointment, but the actual procedure only takes 15 to 20 minutes. If you have cataracts in both eyes, you will have two appointments on different days, one for each eye.

Depending on your doctor and health, you may be under local or general anaesthesia. During the surgery, the cataract (aka the cloudy lens) is removed, and a new lens is inserted into your eye. Sometimes, myopia, hypermetropia or astigmatism can be corrected with the new lens, meaning your prescription may be altered post-surgery.

As your sight will be impaired for a short period after surgery, it’s recommended to have someone with you to take you home upon discharge.

The Benefits of Cataract Surgery

Full recovery of cataract surgery can take anything from 2 to 6 weeks. But you’ll quickly notice all the positives post-surgery, such as:

  • Normal or improved level of vision
  • A more comfortable viewing experience
  • Improving your lifestyle with better vision
  • Being able to see clearly
  • Allowing colour contrast and accuracy
  • Potentially correcting myopia, hypermetropia or astigmatism

Protecting Your Eyes From Cataracts

You cannot completely protect yourself from cataracts; it’s a natural process often occurring when you hit your sixties and above. However, there are always ways to protect and improve your eye health, such as:

  • Wearing sunglasses, even on cloudy days!
  • A nutritious diet
  • A healthy lifestyle
  • Stop smoking and avoid smoking areas
  • Stop drinking alcohol
  • Reduce your screen time

Check Your Lenses

After cataract surgery, your vision should return to its previous standard. During surgery, the new lens can sometimes be adjusted to fix or alter any myopia, hypermetropia or astigmatism. If this is the case, you might require new lenses for your glasses.

Remove any stress of finding new glasses to match your updated prescription, and simply send your new prescription to us! We can design and fit your improved prescription lenses into your existing glasses in no time at all.

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We provide a free postal pack that is delivered straight to your door, inclusive of a free return postage box for your frames. You’ll just need to provide a few simple details and then we can get it over to you ASAP!