Cataracts occur when the lens inside your eye becomes increasingly opaque resulting in 'misty' or 'foggy' vision.
The cause of cataract is age; however, they can be worsened by steroid use, diabetes and sunlight.
Someone with early stages of cataracts may notice a 'film' in their vision. Often, things that used to be black and white now look grey and colours are perceived as dull. In early stage cataracts, new spectacles may improve vision but as the cataract worsens, spectacles often will not provide significant improvement. You may not be aware of cataracts in your vision because changes can be gradual. As cataracts become more advanced, vision becomes 'foggy', less detail is seen, reading can be slower, television isn't perfectly clear and driving becomes difficult when driving into the sun. At this stage, new spectacles will not restore 'normal' vision and surgery is required.
Corrective surgery removes the cataract (the cloudy lens) and an artificial lens (intra ocular lens) is put into its place. After surgery eye drops are required for a month to ensure your eye does not become infected, and usually your glasses will need updating after this.
Most people with cataracts will benefit from surgery. Your overall health and any other eye conditions you may have will be considered before a decision is made to operate. Your optometrist will refer you to an ophthalmologist (eye specialist) to confirm that you will benefit from having your cataracts removed.
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