Do you need some information about cataracts? Here Auckland Eye answers the most common cataract questions we get such as 'what are cataracts?' and 'what are the symptoms and treatment options?'
What are cataracts?
A cataract is an opacity (or cloudiness) in the natural lens of the eye. This cloudiness develops inside the lens and restricts light passing through the eye and reaching the retina. When this occurs, vision can be affected.
What causes cataracts?
The most common cause of cataracts is simply aging and whilst people can have an age related cataract in their 40s and 50s it is after the age of 60 that most cataracts cause problems with a person's vision . Others causes include, inherited or developmental problems, health problems such as diabetes, medications such as steroids and trauma to the eye
What are the symptoms?
Common symptoms of cataracts are:
- Cloudy or blurry vision
- Light sensitivity from car headlights that seem too bright at night; glare from lamps or very bright sunlight; or the appearance of a halo around lights
- Poor or reduced night vision
- Double or multiple vision (this symptom often goes away as the cataract progresses)
- "Second sight" where near vision becomes possible without glasses again because of the cataract developing in the lens. This state is usually temporary, and followed by progressive loss of distance vision
- A need for frequent changes of glasses or contact lenses
How fast does a cataract develop?
How fast a cataract develops varies among individuals and may even vary between eyes. In younger people and people with diabetes cataracts may progress rapidly over a few months. However, most age-related cataracts progress gradually over a period of years.
What can be done to treat cataracts?
During the early stages of a cataract, a change in glasses may improve the clarity of vision, though this is usually temporary. When cataracts begin to interfere with daily activities, surgical removal is the only effective treatment.
Modern cataract or lens replacement surgery is effective in restoring vision to most patients. This involves removing the cloudy lens from inside the eye through a small incision, and replacing it with a new artificial lens, also called the Intraocular Lens (IOL) made from acrylic material.
Auckland Eye offers two approaches to cataract surgery: PersonalEyes® and PersonalEyes®plus.
By utlising the latest diagnostic equipment, surgical techniques and lens implants, it is now possible to offer a 'measure and match' personalised treatment plan allowing a visual outcome that really is for your eyes only.
If cataracts mean your vision is cloudy or blurry with poor low-light or night vision, PersonalEyes® custom cataract solutions may be the perfect solution for you.
PersonalEyes®plus uses the most advanced multifocal IOLs available, to give you a level of freedom from glasses that you may have previously only dreamed of.
With PersonalEyes®plus multifocal IOL's you can now dramatically improve your near and distance vision post lens replacement surgery, reducing, and in some cases eliminating, the need for glasses.
Additionally, PersonalEyes®plus can also be beneficial if you suffer from astigmatism, as we are now able to correct this with Toric IOL's, improving your vision significantly and reducing the need for glasses post-operatively.
Is cataract surgery permanent?
Yes. It is not possible to get another cataract once it has been removed. However, approximately 10% of patients may become aware of a gradual blurring of vision some months or even years after the surgery due to thickening of the lens capsule that supports your artificial lens. If this occurs, clear vision is usually restored by a simple laser treatment, called a capsulotomy, which can be performed during a short visit to the clinic.
Will I need glasses after surgery?
Most patients will require glasses for fine visual tasks although some patients can get by without them for certain activities.
Does the operation hurt?
No. An anaesthetic is applied before surgery so that there is no pain, but some people experience slight discomfort after the surgery. The anaesthetic stops the eye from moving during the operation and your eyelids are held open by a small spring, so all you have to do is lie still for the surgery. You cannot see what is happening during the operation.
For more information on Auckland Eye's custom cataract solutions you can book an appointment with one of our cataract specialists either online or by calling 0800 AKL EYES