Cataracts: what are they?

Cataracts occur when the lens inside your eye becomes increasingly opaque resulting in ‘misty’ or ‘foggy’ vision.


What are some effects of cataracts?

Someone with early stages of cataracts may notice a ‘film’ in their everyday vision. Other common symptoms are general blurriness and glare from headlights of oncoming traffic when driving at night. Often, things that used to look black and white now look grey and colours are perceived as dull. In the early stages of cataracts, new spectacles may improve vision but, as the cataract worsens, spectacles often will not provide any significant improvement.

You may not be aware of cataracts in your vision. This is 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 in to the sun. At this stage, new spectacles will not restore ‘normal’ vision.


Can cataract be helped?

Usually the answer is yes. Treatment is a surgical procedure where the cataract (the cloudy lens) is removed, and a clear artificial lens (intra-ocular lens) is put in its place, usually under local anaesthetic. After the surgery, the prescription will be altered and new spectacles might be required.

In New Zealand, because we experience very high levels of UV it is important to protect our eyes. UV is the primary cause of cataract, but UV can also damage the conjunctiva, retina, and the sensitive skin surrounding the eyes. A good pair of UV protective sunglasses ought to be a priority to keep your eyes healthy.


Can everyone have surgery?

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. At Buchanan Optometrists, we monitor for cataracts during your eye examinations and, where appropriate, we can refer you to the Ophthalmology Registrar at the hospital or a local private Ophthalmologist to have your cataracts removed.

btn appointment

Cataracts seek help from Buchanan Optometrists
Vision affected by Cataracts
cataract eye
Cataracts physiology


Buchanan Optometrists Ltd optometry practice in Christchurch is located at Church Corner within the Riccarton Clinic. As an independent optical practice we have the freedom to use suppliers that provide the best service and products to you.

btn readmore


Monday, Wendsday & Thursday
8:30am -5:30pm
8.30am - 7:00pm
8:30am -4:30pm

First Floor
Riccarton Clinic 
6 Yaldhurst Road
Upper Riccarton 
New Zealand
03 341 4850