Cataracts are cloudy patches in the lens that can make vision blurred or misty. They are a very common eye condition.

Cataracts in the eyeCataracts can develop in one or both eyes, and one eye can often be more affected than the other.

The lens is a transparent structure located inside the eye. It is normally clear and allows light to pass through to the back of the eye. However, if parts of the lens become cloudy (opaque), light is unable to pass through the cloudy patches.

Over time, the cloudy patches become bigger, and more of them develop. As less light is able to pass through the lens, the person’s vision is likely to become blurry or cloudy. The cloudier the lens becomes, the more the person’s sight will be affected.

When to see your optician

If you have problems with your vision, make an appointment to see your optician (also known as an optometrist). An optometrist can examine your eyes and test your sight.

Who is affected

Cataracts are more common in older people, and affect men and women equally. In the UK, more than half of people who are over 65 have some cataract development in one or both eyes.

Who’s at risk

As well as your age, there are several things that may increase your risk of developing a cataract, including:

• a history of cataracts in your family

• smoking

• lifestyle factors, such as poor diet

• overexposing your eyes to sunlight

• taking steroid medicines for a long time

• certain health conditions, such as diabetes

Treating age-related cataracts

If cataracts are mild, stronger glasses and brighter reading lights may enable people to live with the condition. If left untreated, cataracts can cause progressive loss of vision.

Once cataracts start interfering with daily activities such as cooking or getting dressed, surgery is usually recommended.

Are there any risks?

Cataract operations are generally very successful, with a low risk of serious complications. The most common risk is developing a condition called posterior capsule opacification (PCO), which causes cloudy vision to return.

If this happens, you may need to have laser eye surgery to correct it. Speak to your ophthalmologist before cataract surgery to discuss any risks.

If you are concerned at all then please contact us for a check up appointment

    Optician of the Year 2012

    College of Optometrists

    General Optical Council