Cataracts

One of the more common eye problems that people suffer from as they get older in life is the condition known as cataracts. There are numerous causes associated with triggering the development of cataracts and although many sufferers tend to be in the older generation, there are also those who may be born with the disease. A healthy human eye contains a clear lens which focuses light onto the retina which is then interpreted by the brain into the images we see. If a person is suffering from cataracts, then this usually clear lens has begun to develop cloudy patches which are responsible for blurred or foggy vision. Over time, these cloudy patches begin to grow which in turn makes the eyesight deteriorate to a worse extent as less and less light is allowed to pass through the eye.

Who Is Affected?

It is estimated that over fifty percent of UK pensioners have some level of cataract development in one or both eyes by the time they have reached 65 years of age. However, it is not just age that is responsible for the condition. Other factors such as poor nutrition, overexposure to sunlight, whether a person smokes or not and diabetes can contribute significantly to the problem. Certain medications can also cause a patient to development cataracts if taken over a long enough time frame. In particular, certain steroids which contain strong levels of hormones have been shown to significantly increase whether a patient develops the condition and how quickly the problem spreads.

Cataract Treatment Options

If your eyesight is generally quite good and cataract development is in its early stages then you may be offered a new pair of prescription glasses with a higher strength. Stronger lighting is also recommended which should help you with activities such as reading and carrying out duties around the home. However, once the development of cataracts has reached a certain extent and has begun to interfere with your everyday quality of life then it is highly feasible that you will be recommended to undergo a surgical procedure to resolve the issue permanently. Cataract surgery itself is incredibly common and it is also one of the quickest and most effective modern day procedures that surgeons are able to carry out. The surgical process of removing a cataract takes less than an hour, from start to finish, and the improvement in eyesight is almost instant.

Once your cataracts have been removed, an artificial replacement lens will be fitted which is designed to last a lifetime with no possibility of deteriorating and, just a few days after the surgery is over, you should find that your vision is exactly the same as it was before you developed the condition in the first place. These days, a wide choice of replacement lenses are available which have been designed to reduce or eliminate the need for prescription glasses. They are known as intraocular lenses (ICLs) and they each provide different benefits which may or may not be advantageous to the patient. A qualified eye doctor will be able to discuss the best possible options with you before surgery takes place.