4 things you need to know about cataracts and how to treat them

Clos up of green eye at London OC, London

The key to good eye health is to frequently have your eyes examined, and book any necessary procedures at expert clinics such as London OC. - Credit: Getty Images

We often assume that living with cataracts is part and parcel of getting older, but thanks to modern treatments they are much easier to be rid of. 

To maintain good eye health, it’s very important to familiarise yourself with the common symptoms and treatments process, alongside regular eye examinations. The best way to find out reliable information is to hear it first hand from experts in the field, such as London OC based in Central London, who provide top of the line treatments for cataracts. 

We spoke to Mr Vik Sharma, a consultant ophthalmologist at London OC, about the causes, impact and the removal process of cataracts. 

1) Symptoms and causes  

Caratacta clouding a lens at London OC, Central London

Cataracts cloud the eye and can seriously affect vision, even leading to blindness if left untreated. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A cataract occurs when the lens in your eye becomes opaque, and the worse it gets the more it disrupts your vision. The lens within our eyes continues to grow throughout our lifetime, which changes where the light rays are focused, leading to blurred or less clear vision.

Mr Sharma explained: “The major cause of cataracts is age, and as a result, many people used to believe that sight loss was an inevitable consequence of getting older. However, when an individual struggles to tolerate sunlight, has diminished vision at night and glare sensitivity, these are all indicators that cataracts are the root cause and can occur at any age. 

“Alongside age, genetics increase the likelihood of developing cataracts, as well as trauma and certain drugs such as steroids. Frequent check-ups can help to diagnose cataracts before any damage is done.” 

2) The best time for removal  

Traditionally, before any surgery could be attempted the cataract would have to be deemed as ‘ripe’. This meant a waiting process to allow the cataract to develop to a sufficient point before removal. Modern technology has made this stage redundant, as cataracts can now be removed at any point, even before any symptoms emerge.  

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Mr Sharma told us: “Gone are the days when you have wait for the cataract to be ready for surgery. We can perform surgical removal at any point, and can even offer lens replacement surgery to patients whose lenses are at the early stages of opacity.” 

Man has difficulty reading smartphone at London OC, London

Cataracts can cause your eyes to struggle with sunlight, reading or seeing properly at night. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

3) Treatment options  

Lens replacement surgery refers to the surgical removal of cataracts and the implementation of an artificial lens that removes any cloudiness that is obscuring vision. Mr Sharma commented: “Replacing the cloudy lens with a new, multifocal alternative allows our patients to read, see into the distance and drive without glasses.  

“These lenses have been around for 70 years, and have been modified with modern advances to ensure that over 90 per cent of patients receive spectacle-free vision for a lifetime. This procedure is the most commonly performed worldwide, so we know that these lenses are safe and do not degrade.” 

4) Opting for private care  

Many of the transformative lens replacement and cataract surgeries are not available on the NHS. Distance lenses are available, however certain activities such as reading will require continued use of glasses. Private care also has a range of benefits outside of the procedure that make for a more comfortable process. 

Mr Sharma explained: “At London OC, you have a choice of surgeon, a decision which is not yours on the NHS. The surgeon you choose will handle the entire process from start to finish, and will be present at all times to ensure you are cared for.  

“As an independent clinic, we have a full range of lens options for our patients. Whichever lens a patient decides on, we have the capacity to acquire it and implement it during the surgery. Patients are also able to select a date for surgery that best suits them. We have three operating theatres and flexible staff that are always on hand for patients when needed.” 

For more information about cataracts and lens replacement surgery, visit londonoc.co.uk or call 020 7000 3193 to book an appointment.

Quote EYECar for a free return chauffeured car from the Home Counties for all new glaucoma and cataract consultations.