Cataract incidence / prevalence
A cataract is clouding of the lens in your eye that may affect your eyesight.
- Worsening of vision which may appear cloudy, fuzzy or misty
- Difficult reading
- Glares and halos from light
- Difficulty driving at night
- Double vision
- Frequent changes in prescription as eyesight worsens
It is not known why age-related cataracts develop, but there are certain factors which increase your chances of developing them:
- Medications – such as long term use of steroids
- Exposure to ultraviolet light from sunlight (use of sunglasses which block out UVA and UVB rays may help prevent this)
- Family history of cataracts
Cataract diagnosis and examination process
Your optometrist may mention that you are developing cataracts as part of your regular examination with them. They will use a special microscope (slit lamp) to examine your eyes. They may occasionally instil a drop into your eye to enlarge your pupil. This will cause your vision to be temporarily blurred but will allow them to examine your natural lens for cataract development.
If the cataracts are beginning to affect you, your optometrist will refer you to me. I will confirm you have cataracts
and then we can have a discussion regarding what we can do to improve your eyesight.
Cataracts are likely to worsen over time, and so at some point, it may be appropriate to consider surgery. Essentially, this means surgically removing the cataract and replacing your cloudy lens with an artificial one.
I can use different types of artificial lenses to replace your cataract. These include:
- Single vision lenses (monofocal) – These are generally used to improve your distance vision, but you will require spectacles to help you see things close up, such as when reading. “Mono-vision” is a technique whereby one eye is provided with distance vision, the other eye for reading.
- Extended depth of focus lenses (EDOF) – Used to provide improved intermediate vision such as working at the computer.
- Multifocal lenses – Used to provide the widest “range” to the vision for distance, intermediate and near activities.
I must discuss the potential options with you to provide you with the most appropriate solution that will achieve your goals.
How long is the hospital stay?
Most cases can be done as a day case procedure, allowing you to go home on the day of surgery.
How long is the recovery period?
Within the first week, much of the visual improvement from surgery has already been obtained. The vision may alter slightly over the next four weeks or so, but there is little change after this. For most people, a return to full activity is possible within two weeks of surgery. Still, it is important to discuss this with your surgeon. You will likely have to change your spectacles.
What are the dos and don’ts after surgery?
After cataract surgery, you should avoid rubbing your eyes. With modern surgery techniques, bending over, and heavy lifting are not strictly forbidden anymore. Wash your hair with care, making sure that the water does not go into the eye.