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A clouding of the lens within the eye.

What is a cataract?

The lens in your eye sits behind the pupil and its purpose is to focus light to the back of your eye so that you can see things clearly.  The lens is normally clear, but after the age of 40 it can start to become cloudy, resulting in the image that you see becoming cloudy / misty / fuzzy.

What are the symptoms of a cataract?

  • Cloudy / Blurry / Dim vision
  • Glare / haloes and difficulty with night driving
  • Gradual fading/yellowing of colours
  • More frequent changing of spectacle prescription

What causes a cataract?

Cataracts are most often due to age-related changes in the natural lens.  Trauma, exposure to UV light, the use of steroids and diabetes can all cause cataracts to occur sooner or progress faster.

  • Are short sighted (myopic)
  • Have had previous cataract surgery
  • Have suffered recent trauma to the eye
  • Have a strong family history of detachments

How is a cataract diagnosed?

Often cataracts are noted by your own optician during a routine sight test over a period of time.  After dilating your pupils with eyedrops your ophthalmologist will closely examine your eye with a slit-lamp microscope in clinic to ensure that there are no other eye problems and to determine the severity of your cataract determine if there are any important potential risk factors.

How is a cataract treated?

The treatment of cataracts is undertaken surgically once you feel the cataract has progressed to a point where it is affecting hour vision and your daily life, for example if the vision is reduced and hampering driving or if you find it difficult to work / read / watch TV / play sports.

Cataract surgery is a day-case operation which is highly successful and straightforward for most patients.  We use ultrasound equipment and microscopic techniques to dissolve the cataract and replace it with a clear plastic lens implant, which allows rapid visual recovery.  Your ophthalmologist will discuss the type of lens implant best suited for your visual requirements and perform the specific scans and bespoke individual eye measurements (biometry) in clinic in order to choose this lens implant.

If you’re unsure what treatment you should go for, or the above treatments don’t work for you, our team of expert specialists are here to help.

This content has been checked and approved by

Mr Jason Ho  ›

Mr Jason Ho is a consultant ophthalmologist and vitreoretinal surgeon at King Edward VII’s Hospital, with subspecialty interests in medical retina and vitreoretinal surgery.

Find your specialist in cataracts at King Edward VII's Hospital

If you suspect you have cataracts and you’re seeking an expert opinion, you can find the UK’s leading specialists here at King Edward VII’s Hospital. Our consultants are hand-picked for you, making it easy to access the best possible care.

Professor James Bainbridge  ›
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