Cataract is where the natural lens inside the eye becomes cloudy. This is usually a gradual process that occurs with age. In some cases, cataract may develop earlier due to trauma, other types of eye surgery, some medications and other health conditions like diabetes.
Cataracts affect people in different ways. Most people notice their vision becoming blurry. Other symptoms include glare, (e.g. when driving at night), light sensitivity or seeing a double image. Developing a cataract can cause your glasses prescription to change. This can lead to your prescription becoming unbalanced, a condition called anisometropia, and this may lead to visual discomfort.
Sometimes, you may not be aware you have a cataract, and it is fine to leave them alone if that is the case. You do not need cataract surgery unless you are noticing problems with your vision.
Cataracts can only be treated with surgery. This involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. Cataract surgery is one of the most frequently performed of all operations. It is highly successful, although as with any surgery there are risks that you must be aware of. Different types of artificial lenses can be implanted depending on your specific requirements.
Cataract surgery is a highly refined and intricate procedure, but with a skilled surgeon can usually be completed in 10-15 minutes with reliably excellent outcomes. However, some cataracts are more complex than others:
Cataracts that are very advanced
Cataracts in eyes with unusual spectacle prescriptions (high myopia, high hyperopia or astigmatism)
Cataracts that have developed following trauma to the eye
Cataracts in eyes that have had previous surgery
Cataracts associated with other eye disease
These types of cataracts require extra planning and care and the surgery may take longer. The risk of complications is slightly higher, and visual recovery may not be as quick as usual. If you have a complex cataract, it is essential that your surgery is planned and performed by someone experienced in handling such cases. This includes the challenging calculations that are required to work out what lens should be implanted in such cases (read more here).