EYE OPENING FACTS ABOUT CATARACTS

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At Speccies opticians, we strive to educate our patients about the different eye health conditions and specifically what symptoms they should be looking out for in their everyday life. They’re not always immediately noticeable but there are certain eye conditions that can have a devastating effect on the overall health of the body if not treated as soon as possible.

Cataract symptoms are something that not many people are aware of because of the lack of knowledge and support around the condition. Many people suffer unnecessarily for long periods of time because of their lack of understanding.

So, what are Cataracts?

Simply put, Cataracts is a condition that occurs in the eye when the proteins in the lens begins to clump. These clumps cause the lens to discolour and darken. It is also the most common reason for sight loss in those above the age of 40 and is one of the most common reasons for blindness across the world.

RISK FACTORS….you need to know

  • Smoking
  • Age
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Significant alcohol consumption
  • Previous eye surgery
  • High myopia
  • Family history of cataracts or severe eye conditions

Cataracts can skew your vision, so it becomes blurred and that is one sign that you should look out for when considering whether you have cataracts. Due to the discolouration of the lens, colours may not appear as bright as they have previously done so and when you drive at night, you may experience more glare in the headlights of cars.

However, the type of cataracts you have can cause various different symptoms and lifestyle changes.

We can briefly explain the 3 types of cataracts like this:

  • Subcapsular Cataracts : these occur at the back of the lens. If you have diabetes or need to take a high dose of a steroid medication, then you will be at greater risk of developing a subcapsular cataract.
  • Nuclear Cataracts: These form deep in the central zone (nucleus) of the lens. This type of cataract is often associated with aging and are the most common type of cataract.
  • Cortical Cataracts: These are characterized by the white, wedge-like tendrils which begin on the edges of the lens and work their way towards the centre. They form in the lens cortex, the part of the lens surrounding the central nucleus.

How can I prevent Cataracts?

Starting to take care of your eye health should start as young as possible. If you have a regular routine in taking care of your health and eye health beginning when you are young, the chances of attracting unwanted health conditions will be significantly lower.

Regular eye examinations will help you to spot any eye health issues early, including cataracts, meaning treatment can be recommended and started in good time.

Here are our tips on keeping your eyes healthy to prevent cataracts.

  • Regular Eye Examinations
  • Quit smoking. Or better yet, just don’t start.
  • Eat spinach, kale and other leafy green vegetables regularly
  • Vitamin C foods containing omega-3 fatty acids
  • Good overall nutrition
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Know your family’s eye history early on

I have cataracts. What now?

Thankfully, with new and updated technology as well as constant research from the ophthalmological department, there are various treatments if you have cataracts – the main one being surgery. However, recognising the symptoms beforehand can contribute greatly to the recovery and succession of the surgery.

A study showed that 99% of cataract surgeries were successful and 99.5% of surgeries did not have any post-op problems or issues.

If you can carry out your everyday tasks as normal, without having severe difficulties getting around and doing your normal routine, cataract surgery is not always necessary. However, if you feel you are unable to carry out your normal routine due to the symptoms you experience, you will need to have surgery.

The procedure is fairly short, lasting 30 – 45 minutes and is usually carried out using a local anaesthetic. Post-operation, you will usually be able to go home after a few hours. If you have cataracts in both eyes, however, you will have to have two separate operations, a few weeks apart from each other. This will allow one eye to heal and recover before you undergo another surgery for the other eye.

If you or anyone you know is suffering with cataracts or with any of the symptoms listed above, please call us immediately on 0844 844 4606 for a confidential discussion on how we can help. Alternatively, please seek the help of your GP or a healthcare professional as soon as possible.

 

 

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