As you age, the lenses in your eyes naturally harden and can turn cloudy. A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects your vision by blocking light and preventing it from reaching the retina.
Most cataracts are related to aging and are very common in older people. Cataracts typically develop slowly and progressively, causing a gradual and painless decrease in vision. More than 2.5 million Canadians have cataracts.
Symptoms of Cataracts
The most common symptoms of a cataract are:
- Cloudy or blurry vision
- Colors seeming faded
- Glare. Headlights, lamps, or sunlight may appear too bright. A halo may appear around lights.
- Poor night vision.
- Double vision or multiple images in one eye. (This symptom may clear as the cataract gets larger.)
- Frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses.
(Note: These symptoms can also be a sign of other eye problems. If you have any of these symptoms, check with your eye care professional.)
Reducing your exposure to ultraviolet light by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses may reduce your risk for developing a cataract, but once one has developed, there is no cure except to have the cataract surgically removed.
Treatment For Cataracts
Surgery is considered when the cataract affects vision to the point that it is affecting a person’s lifestyle. An ophthalmologist can remove the cataract by making a small incision in the cornea at the front of the eye. A synthetic lens is then inserted to replace the focusing power of the natural lens.
According to the Canadian Ophthalmological Society, cataract surgery is generally quite successful. One and a half million people have this procedure every year in North America, and 95% have a successful result. However; as with any surgical procedure, complications can occur and should be discussed with your ophthalmologist prior to surgery.
Canadian Opthalmological Society
National Eye Institute