What is a Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens, which leads to a decrease in vision. Many people think a cataract is a growth on or over the eye (in Afrikaans “ ‘n vliesie op die oog “ ). This is not true. Thus a cataract is not visible for an outside observer. Often, it can only be seen using a microscope.
If you wonder what is like to have a cataract, think about looking through frosted glass. The vision is gradually affected and a cataract does not cause any pain. Cataracts, if left long enough, can cause legal blindness. Early signs of cataract formation can start between the ages of 50 & 55 years.
Main symptoms of a Cataract can include:
- Blurred Vision (especially with fine detailed vision or reading)
- Light sensitivity
- Yellowing or fading of color vision
- Impaired night vision (increased glare and halos at night)
Causes of Cataract
- The most common cause of cataracts is age.
- May also be caused by various medical conditions for example Diabetes.
- Medication used to treat other medical conditions may also induce cataract development.
- Blunt trauma to the eyes.
- In very rare cases children may also be born with cataracts.
All cataracts can be removed by surgery.
An assessment is required prior to your procedure to establish the likely visual outcome.
The surgery takes 10 to 15 minutes and is performed under local anesthetic in most cases. The surgery can be performed under general anesthesia, but this is very rarely necessary.