Cataracts are opacities in the crystalline lens, which is the lens inside the eye. These opacities prevent light from optimally passing through the eye resulting in changes in vision.
Some of the symptoms of cataracts include:
- blurry vision
- poor night vision
- halos around lights
- faded colours
- increase in glare
Factors associated with the earlier development of cataracts
- Pale eyes
- UV ray exposure
The treatment for cataracts is surgical. During cataract surgery, the surgeon inserts an instrument in the eye that breaks up the crystalline lens into smaller pieces and then sucks up the pieces like a vacuum. It was once believed that we need to wait until the cataracts are mature or ripe before surgery. A more mature or advanced cataract is actually thicker and denser, requiring more time and energy to break up during surgery. Advanced cataracts are more at risk for complications during surgery.
It’s important to have regular eye exams so your optometrist can check your vision and assess the level of cataracts. When your optometrist examines you, she can actually see the cataracts in your eyes using special equipment called a slit lamp and can assess how dense or important the cataracts are and compare from one visit to the next. During your visit, your optometrist will discuss with you whether to wait or consult a surgeon to evaluate the need for cataract surgery.