Do you know that while cataract is the leading cause of blindness globally, it is one of the safest eye procedures performed with lasting results? Most individuals aged 40 and above have an increased risk of being affected by this condition. In Singapore, reports show that cataract affects
A cataract is a clouding of the normally transparent lens within the eye. It is not a growth or a film that can be peeled off. Located inside the eye, cataracts cannot be seen without a special microscope. Thus, they do not change the appearance of the eye; they do not cause discomfort. Changes may be so gradual that you are not aware of a cataract’s effect at first.
Just as fingerprints on a camera lens cause blurred pictures regardless of our efforts to focus, a cloudy lens within the eye causes blurred vision. When the human lens becomes cloudy or hazy enough to interfere with vision, it is called a cataract. Changing glasses (focus) will not help the blur that is caused by a cataract.
Some cataracts are caused by birth defects, injuries, diabetes, or prolonged use of certain medications, such as steroids. Highly nearsighted patients may develop cataracts at a young age. However, most cataracts result simply from the natural aging process of the human lens. Like grey hair, cataracts do not occur at the same age or rate in everyone.
Blurring of vision is the commonest symptom of cataracts which gets worse with time as less light reaches the retina.
It can be difficult for a person with cataracts to see in bright sunlight. Indoor lights may begin to seem too bright, or they may appear to have haloes around them.
Cataracts also affects Colour vision; some colours may appear faded and objects may acquire a brownish or yellowish tint.
Cataracts may result in patients seeing double images.
The decision to have cataracts removed is elective. Because cataracts do not harm other parts of the eye, nothing needs to be done if you are not significantly bothered by symptoms. However, as activities such as driving and reading become increasingly affected by cataracts, surgery becomes a logical option to consider.
With the success of the modern implant, waiting for cataracts to “ripen” is no longer necessary. Since cataracts will not improve and will eventually worsen, there is no advantage in delaying treatment if vision is sufficiently affected and the prognosis of surgery is good. You are never “too old” to have cataract surgery, just as you are never “too old” to enjoy better vision.
You will be asked to read letters on a vision chart to ascertain your vision.
An assessment of your glasses prescription is done
Your pupils are first dilated and examined thereafter by your ophthalmologist in order to best plan your cataract treatment
Dr Leo Seo Wei is a Senior Consultant Ophthalmologist in Singapore with over two decades of cataract experience under her belt. Throughout her career, the accomplished eye specialist has received numerous awards and valuable stints in ophthalmology, both in Singapore and the United States.READ MORE
Not all cataracts need to be removed. However if left untreated, they will continue to develop and affect your vision. Seek an evaluation to assess your cataract condition
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