Have you been told that you have cataracts? Or do you have blurry vision or other symptoms or signs of cataracts? Unfortunately, the blurry eyesight and cloudiness will slowly get worse, restricting what you can see and do more and more. Cataracts cause other symptoms such as glare from headlights so driving at night can be difficult or dangerous. And as they progress you’ll have blurry vision even with your glasses in the day too. Even when you clean your glasses your vision is still cloudy. The cataract symptoms and blurry vision will continue to get worse until you can’t read, see your phone clearly or enjoy other day-to-day activities. The good news is that your cloudy eyesight can be quickly and painlessly restored with a quick operation. And your eyesight can be made so clear that you may not need glasses post-cataract surgery.
The natural lens in your eye is like a window which is clear when you're young but becomes cloudy as your eyes age and eventually, you'll develop the signs of a cataract. The cloudiness is often worse in one eye than the other. So it seems like you're looking through smudgy glasses.
Mark Wevill has been removing cataracts and doing sight correction procedures for over 20 years mostly in Birmingham and the West Midlands. After you've had high tech scans of your eyes, he'll listen to your needs and recommend a tailored, personalised vision correction plan for your eyes.
Here are answers to some of the usual questions people have about cataracts.
WHAT IS A CATARACT?
A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens in your eye which causes blurry vision.
WHAT CAUSES CATARACTS?
The most important cause is age and unfortunately, we can't avoid getting older! There are other causes such as smoking, diabetes, exposure to lots of sunlight, genetic reasons and injuries. You can't cause cataracts by using your eyes too much, and using your eyes when a cataract starts to develop will not make the symptoms worse.
WHO GETS CATARACTS?
Anyone can develop a cataract in their eyes and they even occur in babies and children, but they are most common over the age of 60.
WILL I GET A CATARACT IN MY OTHER EYE?
Cataracts may start in one eye but they don't spread from one eye to another. They usually just develop in one eye at a time but may develop in both eyes at about the same time.
ARE ALL CATARACTS THE SAME?
There are different types of cataract. Some develop quicker than others. Cataracts can also develop in different parts of the lens. A cataract in the middle of your lens will be very annoying. A cataract at the edge of the lens won't trouble you much until it grows into the middle.
HOW CAN I TELL IF A CATARACT IS STARTING?
There is no way for you to know a cataract is starting, however, one sign may be that you have to change your glasses more frequently and even the new glasses don't give you the clarity of vision you hoped for. You may develop double vision or may struggle to drive at night as there may be too much glare or reflection from car headlights.
CAN I STOP THE CATARACT PROGRESSING?
No, once a cataract starts, eye drops, changing diet, avoiding sunshine, smoking or medication, nor lifestyle changes will stop or slow it down.
WHEN SHOULD I GET TREATMENT?
When the cataract interferes with your activities or normal lifestyle it becomes necessary. Some people choose to have treatment as soon as possible if they want to reduce their dependence on glasses and enjoy the benefits of the treatment for as long as possible.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR CATARACTS?
Cataracts are treated with microsurgery. New technology has made the treatment safe and quick. The procedure is usually painless and takes less than 15 minutes. Eye drops numb your eye and Mark doesn't use needles to inject around your eye. Your own cloudy cataract lens is removed under a microscope. A tiny opening is made at the edge of the cornea, which is the clear window at the front of the eye. Aftercare with eye drops is important too.
IS THE CATARACT REMOVED WITH A LASER?
Cataracts are usually gently dissolved with a high tech ultrasound probe. Femtosecond lasers cataract surgery can be combined with ultrasound, but a laser can't be used alone at present. Mark did laser cataract surgery combined with ultrasound for a few years but they didn't make the surgery safer, easier or better. Scientific studies have confirmed his experience. Expensive technology should only be used if there's a significant benefit to a patient. So Mark has stopped doing laser cataract surgery with ultrasound and only uses ultrasound at present.
DO I HAVE TREATMENT TO BOTH EYES AT THE SAME TIME?
No, it is safer to have the worst eye is operated on first, and the second eye later. Then follow the aftercare instructions.
WHAT TYPE OF LENS IS IMPLANTED INTO MY EYE?
The cloudy lens is replaced with a new high tech lens chosen specifically for you. The lens (usually made of acrylic) helps to focus the light rays clearly at the back of the eye. Advances in intraocular lens technology mean that wonderful clarity of vision can be obtained with aspheric, multifocal and toric lenses. Lenses such as the Zeiss AtLisa, AtLara, Lenstec SBL lenses, Finevision, Tecnis Symfony, Alcon Panoptix and other multifocal lenses have enabled thousands of Mark's patients to drive, watch television, work at a computer and read without glasses.
HOW LONG WILL I STAY IN THE HOSPITAL?
You're admitted to hospital, have surgery and are discharged home the same day. You don't stay overnight.