As we are all enjoying a more active and longer life, the occurrence of cataracts is far more prevalent.

This is a misting of vision caused by normal ageing problems of the lens inside your eye which loses its transparency giving you a view of the world as if looking through a steamy or frosted window. You can also suffer from reduced vision and problems with bright lights. Some cataracts occur in early life or after a blow to the eye.

Most cataracts are found during an eye examination by optometrists and are referred sometimes directly to the hospital. The procedure to replace the lens with a plastic implant normally only requires out-patient treatment and there is little or no inconvenience. The operation is generally highly successful except in a very small number of cases where there may be other disorders hidden or disguised by the original cataract.

When should you have it done? Generally the preferred view is to have it removed when it starts to interfere with your daily life. Your optometrist can advise you.

To minimise the risk of cataract formation there is evidence that reducing harmful UV rays (more prevalent with the ozone layer reduction) by asking your optician to provide a clear UV filter on your spectacles and ensuring you wear quality sunglasses that protect your eyes.

In about 10% of all cases within 2 years of cataract surgery there is the chance of the capsule that used to retain the cataract lens becoming opaque. Fortunately this can be treated by using a laser in out patients almost risk free and vision can be returned to as it was after cataract surgery.

Cataracts can also occur earlier in life following head trauma and ofetn follows from 6 to 24 months after the head trauma has occurred. Treatment is the same.

The plastic implant (the IOL) Intra ocular lens is usually blue light resistant and often created in a progressive power form allowing reading and mid distance viewing as well as distance vision without recourse to spectacle correction in the best of cases.

Very rarely a catarct extraction can be followed by a vitrial prolapse, retinal tears and less than expected visual acuity