Common ailments

Cataracts

Q: I am 68 years old and I have recently noticed that my vision has deteriorated quite a lot. Everything around me appears more cloudy and blurred.  I have also noticed that it is more difficult to see the television. I already wear prescription glasses so I wonder if something else could be wrong.

A: If you haven’t visited your optician recently then you should first make an appointment for an eye examination and to discuss your recent concerns. From the symptoms you describe, it is quite likely that you have developed cataracts, which are very common in older people. Cataracts are cloudy patches in the lens (the transparent part at the front of the eye) which can make vision misty. The cloudy patches can become larger and more of them can develop, meaning that less light is able to pass through the lens of the eye, blurring vision further.

Cataracts can occur in one or both eyes and, unfortunately, the only way to restore vision that has been affected by a cataract is to remove the cataract by surgery. Cataract surgery is however one of the most common and quickest forms of surgery and most people are able to return to their normal daily routine within 24-48 hours.

One thing you can do to slow down the development of cataracts is to avoid regular exposure to bright sunlight. When you do go out therefore, make sure you wear good quality sunglasses that offer high UV protection. Look for sunglasses that bear the CE mark and a label indicating UV 400 level protection or higher.

It is important however that you make an appointment with your optician as soon as possible so that they can examine your eyes and make a proper diagnosis.

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