What is a cataract?

The lens in a persons eye is normally clear, when a clouded section begins to appear this is called a Cataract. As it continues to develop the light passing through the lens is reduced and scattered, causing images to be un-focused on the retina at the back of the eye.

Cataracts develop as a normal part of ageing. At the age of 60 almost half of all adults have some sort of cataract formation.

Diabetes, various eye diseases, eye injury or excessive ultraviolet light may also cause cataracts.

A Cataract will generally develop slowly, some years may pass before it begins to interfere with a persons vision.

Symptoms can include glare, sensitivity to bright light, worsening vision and colours often become darker or duller.

Cataract surgery

The most common technique is carried out by making a very small incision on the cornea (surface of the eye). A small ultrasonic probe is inserted into the lens capsule and divides the clouded lens into tiny pieces, these pieces are then generally suctioned away using the probe. Some small surgical instruments may be used if some lens fragments are more difficult to remove. An intraocular lens (IOL) is then inserted into the eye where the clouded lens once was.

As the incision is so small there will often be no sutures used during the surgery.

Cataract surgery can now be performed with the aid of a laser. This makes the procedure slightly safer under certain circumstances.

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