Those suffering from cataracts experience a clouding of the natural lens inside the eye. The condition is very common and often inevitable as we age, with 60% of the population experiencing the visual complication as they reach their 60s.
Cataracts are a common visual problem. Often developing very gradually, the natural crystalline lens becomes clouded, causing vision to become misty. It is the most common cause of vision loss in the world. The word “cataract” comes from the Greek word “Cataracti” which means waterfall. The lens can take on this appearance when the condition is quite advanced.
The clouding of the natural lens of the eye affects us all as we age. Some of us develop this condition earlier than others but with all of us now living longer, unfortunately, this has become one of life’s inevitabilities.
Fortunately, it is treatable, and advances in cataract treatment mean that the problem can be treated very effectively with a simple and safe procedure.
The lens of each eye needs to be clear in order for your eyes to work properly, so cloudy lenses adversely affect your vision. In a normal eye, the clear lens allows light to reach the retina at the back of the eye, which then communicates with the brain via the optic nerve – this is how we see. However, with a cataract, less light can reach the retina, so your vision is affected.
The problem tends to develop slowly over time. Eventually, cataracts result in a gradual loss of the clarity of vision. Often, patients may complain of:
As well as getting older, there are other factors that contribute to the likelihood of developing cataracts.
The only way to treat cataracts is through the surgical removal of the cloudy protein within the natural lens. There is no way to reverse or “cure” a cataract.
Cataract surgery is a very successful treatment option and is the most commonly performed procedure in Australia. The surgery takes around 15 minutes, and is performed as a day case under local anaesthetic in most cases.
An ultrasound probe is used to gently break up and remove the cloudy natural lens, preparing the eye for an artificial lens to be inserted.
Read more about cataract surgery at Forest Eye Surgery
All surgical procedures carry some risk. The information provided here is for general educational purposes only. Please contact Forest Eye Surgery to find out if cataract surgery is appropriate for your individual situation.