A cataract is a progressive clouding of the eye’s natural lens that interferes with light passing through to the retina.
The lens is the primary focusing mechanism of the eye and as we age, this normally crystal clear lens can become cloudy or yellow. It also loses its natural elasticity and the ability to change focus. When this happens, it is called a cataract.
Sufferers usually describe the condition as being similar to looking through a waterfall, or a piece of wax paper, with a gradual blurring or dimming of vision. Reading may become more difficult and driving a car can become dangerous. Cataract sufferers may also be troubled by bothersome glare, haloes around lights, or even double vision. As the cataract becomes worse, frequent changes in spectacles may also become necessary.
Cataracts are more common among older people, but in people with diabetes they can develop quicker and at a younger age.
Currently, there is no medical treatment to reverse or prevent the development of cataracts; however they can generally be successfully removed with cataract surgery.
It is necessary for you to firstly visit your GP who will decide that your cataracts require further treatment. The doctor will then provide you with a referral to see a cataract specialist. These consultations usually incur a small fee as they are not covered by Medicare.
A-Z of common eye conditions
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