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.