What is Cataracts?

A cataract is a clouding of the clear lens in the eye and is one of the leading causes of vision impairment in Australia and the world.

We all will develop this condition to some degree if we live long enough.  It is part of the normal aging process of the lens inside our eye.

As the lens ages it becomes less flexible (why most people will need reading glasses around 40 years of age) and slowly goes cloudy. Cataracts affect both eyes, but usually asymmetrically.  As this condition develops, colours can become washed out, vision deteriorates, halos can form around lights (especially at night), there can be an increase in glare, and cause poor vision at night.

This condition can occur at birth, but can also be due to trauma, radiation exposure, or as a result of eye surgery.  It can develop earlier in diabetics, smokers and in people who have had prolonged exposure to sunlight.


Ways to prevent or slow the development of cataracts include wearing sunglasses to reduce your UV light exposure, and not smoking.  The blur associated with early cataracts can often be improved with spectacles.  Surgery is considered once your vision, with the best glasses possible, is impacting your day-to-day life.  Surgery removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with an artificial lens and is the only long term effective treatment.

If you are not sure if you have cataracts make an appointment for an eye health assessment.

For more information about cataracts, visit the Vision Australia link here.

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