Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures in the world, particularly among the elderly. In the UK, it is estimated that 30% of individuals aged 65 and above will develop cataracts affecting their vision in one or both eyes.
Cataracts present as a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, leading to symptoms such as blurred vision, light sensitivity, and challenges in daily tasks.
While various factors like ageing, trauma, or certain diseases can contribute to cataract development, surgery remains the most effective means of restoring vision.
In a healthy eye, the lens is transparent, aiding in focusing light onto the retina. The retina then sends signals to the brain, translating them into the images we perceive.
What are the symptoms of cataracts?
Cloudy patches on the lens progressively intensify, causing symptoms like cloudy or blurry vision, faded colours, difficulty seeing at night, heightened sensitivity to light sources, seeing halos around lights, occasional double vision, frequent changes in glasses or contact lens prescriptions, and, ultimately, potential total vision loss.
What are the risk factors for cataracts?
While age is the primary risk factor, additional risk factors include:
- Underlying health issues such as diabetes
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Family history of cataracts
- Previous eye injuries or surgeries
- Significant sun damage to the eyes
- Use of steroids for conditions like arthritis