Understanding the symptoms and the cure

What are cataracts?

If your vision is cloudy, you could be suffering from cataracts. The lens in your eye, which is usually transparent becomes opaque. Cataracts are more common as we age and can only be treated with surgery.

Eleanor, Optometrist at Vision Scotland

Symptoms of cataracts

The first change most people notice is cloudy vision.  Unfortunately, the general blurring caused by cataracts cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. You may also notice reduced colour vision, glare in sunlight and when driving at night. Cataracts also increase short sightedness. If allowed to progress they will eventually cause blindness.

How common is cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure in the world. Every year around 450,000 people in the UK people undergo surgery.  While most of our patients are in their 70s and 80’s, we frequently see younger patients whose cataracts have been triggered by injury, long-term medication or with no identifiable explanation.

If you are concerned that you might be suffering from the early symptoms of cataracts, you can book a free consultation with our specialist optometrist. The earlier cataracts are treated, the safer the surgery.

Cat, Optometrist at Vision Scotland

Types of cataract

Inside your eye (behind the coloured iris) is a lens which changes shape to provide focusing from near to distance and vice versa. Your lens is made of a transparent protein called crystalin. When crystalin becomes old or damaged it loses its transparency and turns cloudy.
The term ‘cataract’, covers a number of different types of cataract. The most common are:

Nuclear sclerosis cataracts

This turns your lens yellow and affects your colour vision. And as you become more short-sighted you will also need to wear stronger glasses.

Cortical cataracts

(also known an anterior subcapsular cataracts)

White streaks develop under the surface of the lens, interfere with vision, making things cloudy and cause glare and dazzle, particularly when driving at night.

Posterior subcapsular cataracts

You’ll notice a big impact quite quickly as this fast growing cataract clouds your vision. It’s usually age related but can also be brought on by medical conditions such as diabetes.

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