Cataract

about-cataract.pngCataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye which very commonly occurs with old age and causes a drop in vision. Cataracts typically progress slowly, vision will become misty, contrast will be reduced and if left untreated they may lead to severe vision loss.

The condition usually affects both eyes, but almost always one eye is affected earlier than the other which can cause problems with balance  and the judgement of distances. The reduction in contrast may affect mealtimes as pale foods cannot be seen against a white plate and contours and shadows are less apparent which may increase the risk of a fall.  Glare can be another problem, as light is scattered  by the cataract into the eye causing dazzle.

Mild

Early len opacities may cause vision to be a little misty, similar to looking through a light fog.

Moderate

Lens opacities may cause vision to be quite misty, similar to looking through a dirty window, making detailed vision difficult. Bright lights such as sunlight may cause discomfort so it may be wise to avoid looking directly towards bright lights. Good lighting coming over the shoulder can be helpful. Contrast may be affected which may cause difficulty with such tasks as seeing food on plates or even safe mobility. Using coloured crockery may be useful at mealtimes.

Severe

Lens opacities may cause vision to be severely affected, similar to looking through a heavily frosted bathroom window.  Reading, watching television and recognizing familiar faces and such objects may be almost impossible. All tasks which require vision will be very difficult, such as seeing foods on plates and mobility. Quality of life will be severly impaired.

During an optomise eye examination we assess the patient's level of cataract or haze. We record and discuss our findings with patient or carers and make appropriate recommendations or onward referral for further treatment.

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