|Cataracts and Treatment
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. If you suffer from cloudy or blurry vision, colors seem faded and the glare of headlights, lamps, or sunlight appears too bright or has a halo, there is a good chance that you have cataracts. This is the point when you should see a consultant about cataract treatment.
The lens of the eye begins life as a completely transparent tissue, made largely of protein that focuses light onto the retina at the back of the eye, where an image is recorded. One of the complications of ageing is that some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. This is a cataract. Over time, the cataract may grow larger and involve more of the lens, making it harder to see. Cataracts are very common in people who have passed 60 and can occur in either or both eyes. It cannot spread from one eye to the other.
Vision in a cataract-affected eye may be improved with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses. However when vision loss interferes with your everyday activities, such as driving, reading, or watching TV, surgery is the only cataract treatment possible. This involves having an ophthalmic surgeon remove the cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial lens.
After the natural lens has been removed, it is usually replaced by an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens (IOL). An IOL is a clear, plastic lens that requires no care and becomes a permanent part of your eye. Light is focused clearly by the IOL onto the retina, improving your vision. You will not feel or see the new lens. Following surgery you will wear a clear shield on the way home and then only at night for about a week. You will also use eye drops to help settle the mild post-surgical discomfort associated with the natural inflammatory reaction of the eye to the operation.
The recent introduction of Multi-Focal Implants makes it possible for cataract patients to free themselves entirely from the need to use spectacles. Professor Bentley specializes in using the latest designs of Multi-Focal Implants and offers his patients the chance to be ‘spectacle independent’ following cataract surgery, i.e. able to see in the distance and read without glasses. See this special page about how multi-focal implants have completely changed cataract treatment results.