What is cataract?
Cataract is a cloudiness of the lens of the eye, that is the transparent structure in the eye which allows light to pass through the eye and focus on the retina at the back of the eyes. A cloudy lens does not allow light adequately pass through the eye, and therefore leads to impaired vision.
How does cataract present?
Common symptoms include reduced vision, glare or scattering effect in bright light, hazy or "smoky" vision and changes in contrast sensitivity (fading out of colours).
Who is at risk of developing cataract?
The risk of developing cataract increases with increasing age. However, other factors such as trauma to the eyes, poorly controlled diabetes, use of steroid-containing drugs, and exposure to radiation or ultraviolet light can lead to cataract development. It can also occur in babies and young children (paediatric cataract)
How common is cataract?
Cataract is the commonest cause of blindness worldwide, accounting for about half of all cases of blindness.
Is vision loss as a result of cataract reversible?
Blindness due to cataract may be reversed by surgery.
How can cataract be managed?
Cataract can be managed by simple surgery in which the patient's opaque lens is removed and replaced with an artificial transparent one.
Common surgical techniques include phacoemulsification (the affected lens is broken into tiny pieces using ultrasound technology), Small Incision Cataract Surgery (SICS) and Extracapsular Cataract Extraction (ECCE).