A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens which is located inside of your eye. For people who have cataracts, seeing through cloudy lenses is a bit like looking through a frosty or fogged-up window. Clouded vision caused by cataracts can make it more difficult to read, drive a car (especially at night) or affect your vision in general.
Most cataracts develop slowly and do not disturb your vision especially in the early stages. As time progresses, cataracts mature and will eventually interfere with your vision.
At first, stronger lighting and spectacles can help you deal with cataracts. But if impaired vision interferes with your usual activities, then you will at some point require your cataracts to be assessed followed by cataract surgery. Fortunately, cataract surgery is generally a fast and effective procedure with high success rates and low complication rates.
Signs and symptoms of cataracts include:
- Clouded, blurry or dim vision
- Increasing difficulty with vision especially at night
- Increased sensitivity to light and glare
- Need for brighter light for reading and other activities
- Seeing “halos” around lights especially at night
- Frequent changes in spectacle or contact lens prescription
- Fading or yellowing of colours
- Double vision
Most cataracts develop when ageing or injury changes the tissue that makes up your eye’s lens. There are several factors that can result in cataracts developing and these include:
- Some inherited genetic disorders
- Other eye conditions
- Previous eye surgery
- Medical conditions like diabetes and vascular disease
- Trauma to the eye
- Medications including corticosteroids – especially long-term use
- Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
There are no studies that have demonstrated how to prevent cataracts or slow their progression. However, several strategies may be helpful in managing the progression of cataracts and these include:
- Having regular eye examinations. Eye examinations can help detect cataracts and other eye problems at their earliest stages. Ask your Optometrist how often you should have an eye examination.
- Quitting smoking. Several strategies can help stop smoking including medications, counselling and other strategies are available to help you.
- Managing other health problems. Follow your treatment plan if you have diabetes or other medical conditions that can increase your risk of cataracts progressing.
- Choosing a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. Adding a variety of fruits and vegetables to your diet ensures that you’re getting a variety of vitamins and nutrients. Fruits and vegetables have many antioxidants, which help maintain the health of your eyes. Studies haven’t shown that antioxidants in tablet form can prevent cataracts but a large population study recently demonstrated that a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals was associated with a reduced risk of developing cataracts. Fruits and vegetables have many health benefits and are a safe way to increase the number of minerals and vitamins in your diet.
- Wearing sunglasses. Ultraviolet light from the sun contributes to the development of cataracts. Wear quality sunglasses that block and filter out ultraviolet light rays when you are outdoors.
- Reducing alcohol use may reduce the risk of developing cataracts.
At Specs Sensation, eye tests are FREE to eligible Medicare patients. If you have any concerns regarding your eye health or vision then it is in your best interest to make an appointment to see our experienced and qualified Optometrists have your eye health assessed and managed appropriately. We have the latest technology available in our practice and coupled with our knowledge and experience of the different eye diseases, we are confident of ensuring you receive the best management for your eye condition.