What are Cataracts?

Cataracts are when the lens, a small transparent disc inside your eye, develops cloudy patches.

Over time these patches usually become bigger causing blurry, misty vision and eventually blindness.
When we’re young, our lenses are usually like clear glass, allowing us to see through them. As we get older, they start to become frosted, like bathroom glass, and begin to limit our vision.

Cataracts usually appear in both eyes. They may not necessarily develop at the same time or be the same in each eye.
They’re more common in older adults and can affect your ability to carry out daily activities such as driving.
Developing cataracts when we are older is quite normal and they are very common.

Symptoms of cataract

Symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Your eyesight is blurred or misty
  • You find lights too bright or glaring
  • You find it harder to see in low light
  • Colours look faded

If you wear glasses, you may feel your lenses are dirty and need cleaning, even when they don’t.

Cataracts aren’t usually painful and don’t make your eyes red or irritated, but they can be painful if they’re in an advanced stage or if you’ve got another eye condition.

Treating age-related cataracts

If your cataracts aren’t too bad, we may be able to give you stronger glasses and brighter reading lights may help for a while.

But cataracts gradually get worse over time, so you may need surgery to remove and replace the affected lens.
Surgery is the only treatment that’s proven to be effective for cataracts.
The stage when you need cataract surgery is dependant on the degree of opacification of the cataract and also the symptoms you may be having.

Following your eye examination we can discuss with you if further referral is necessary for cataract surgery. We can then refer you via your GP for potential surgery through the NHS at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. We can also arrange a private referral if you prefer.

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