Diagnosing and Treating Cataracts

January 2020

A cataract is a common eye condition where the lens becomes progressively opaque, resulting in blurred vision. Having a cataract can be compared to a dirty camera lens or a foggy window. Symptoms: Symptoms include blurred vision (especially in bright light), double vision, difficulty reading or seeing clearly in the distance, difficulty driving at night, change in the appearance

of colors, especially fading or general yellowing, and frequent eye prescription changes.

Causes: There are many causes of cataract formation; however, aging is the most common. As people grow older, changes to the protein that make up the lens can occur, leading to the development of cloudy areas. Cataracts can be hereditary. Injury to the eye, medical problems (ex. diabetes, eye diseases) or some medications (ex. steroids) may also cause or be associated with cataract formation.

Diagnosis: A thorough eye examination by an ophthalmologist will determine  whether a cataract is present.

Risk Factors: Research suggests that some factors may increase the risk of

age-related cataracts forming, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Family history of cataracts
  • Use of steroid medication over time
  • Poor diet and smoking
  • Excessive exposure to sunlight over time

Treatment: Surgery will be considered when a cataract causes enough vision loss to interfere with daily activities such as working, driving, reading or watching TV. Surgery is the only effective way to remove a cataract and is usually performed in a hospital’s operating theatre under a local anesthetic. If you have any questions or concerns about any aspect of cataract care, please discuss these with an ophthalmologist.


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