What is a cataract?
A cataract is a clouding or opacity of the natural lens inside our eye. The lens sits in the eye, behind the coloured part of the eye (the iris). When cataract develops, the lens prevents light rays passing through or alters the pathway of these rays, resulting in objects not focusing sharply on the retina. This degrades the quality of vision.
Throughout life our lens gradually loses its natural elasticity, until the 5th decade of life when its ability to accommodate and focus for near objects becomes significantly compromised. This is known as dysfunctional lens syndrome or presbyopia. Over the next few decades the lens acquires a brownish hue; when the lens has lost its normal clarity and transparency, it is called a cataract.
What symptoms does cataract cause?
Cataracts are usually slow to develop over years, causing a gradual reduction and blurring of vision, a reduction in the sharpness or a degradation in the overall quality of vision. Glare may be noticed at night, even with early cataract; this may cause difficulty with night-time driving. Other symptoms may cause include double vision in one eye and the need for frequent change in spectacles.
A cataract does not cause pain or redness of the eye. However, if you are struggling to see clearly because of cataract and overusing your facial muscles in response, you may develop some headache over prolonged periods of detailed work.
How can a cataract be treated?
The only treatment for cataract is surgery. However, you do not need to have surgery if your eyesight is not affected.
During the operation, a small device is used to break up the lens and remove your cataract. A new clear lens, called intraocular lens (IOL), is then placed in the position of your old lens; it remains in the eye for the rest of your life. The IOL is made of plastic materials or derivatives, such as PMMA and silicone.
Cataract surgery can dramatically improve your quality of vision and life – if you're interested in finding out more call
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What benefits can I expect after cataract surgery?
Around 99% of patients have a significant improvement in vision following cataract surgery helping with driving, reading, working, hobbies, safety and self-confidence.
Cataract surgery provides the opportunity to correct pre-existing and underlying refractive errors, such as astigmatism, short-sightedness and long-sightedness.
In addition, cataract surgery provides a great opportunity to reduce or eliminate the need for reading glasses.
Co-existing eye conditions, such as macular degeneration or glaucoma, can limit the extent of improvement after surgery. However, if a significant cataract is present, cataract extraction surgery can provide a substantial improvement in the quality of your vision and life.
Why Aris Konstantopoulos
Experienced NHS Consultant
Cataract and refractive surgeon
Professional and friendly care
I had corrective lenses inserted in both eyes ... I am delighted with the results. After 10 years of wearing varifocal spectacles I no longer need them.
Dr Aris gave me complete confidence in the procedure I was having. He knows exactly how to usher one through the whole experience. At all times I felt I was in very able hands.
Had lens exchange surgery on both eyes with Dr Aris in past 6 months, I am very pleased with the results and the process has been very professional, caring and reassuring.
I have been thoroughly impressed with the level of care and professionalism that Aris and his team have shown at all stages in the process.
I am really happy with the way that it ended up and the path that I followed.