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Please find below answers to some commonly asked questions about cataracts.
Do cataracts spread from eye to eye?
No. But often they develop in both eyes at the same time.
Has my cataract been caused by overuse of my eyes?
No. Cataracts are not caused by overuse of the eyes and using the eyes when a cataract starts to develop will not make the cataract worse.
Is it possible not to know you've got a cataract?
Some people may not be aware that a cataract is developing. It can start at the edge of the lens and initially may not cause problems with vision. Generally, as a cataract develops, people experience blurring or hazing of vision. Often they become more sensitive to light and glare.
As my cataract develops, will I need to get a new prescription for my glasses?
There may be a need to get new prescriptions for glasses more often when a cataract is developing. When the cataract worsens, however, stronger glasses no longer improve sight. Objects have to be held close to the eye to be seen. The hole in the iris (pupil) may no longer look black; a white or yellow appearance may be seen. The lens behind the pupil becomes more dense and cloudy (opaque) as the cataract develops.
Could anything have been done to stop me developing a cataract?
There is no known prevention for cataracts. Modern surgery is highly successful for the majority of patients.
What are the complications of cataract surgery?
Serious complications are uncommon following cataract surgery. However, like all operations, problems can occur. If any of the following develop you must attend the accident and emergency departemtn at Moorfields or, if this is not possible, your GP as soon as possible:
- infection or inflammation is very uncommon but can be serious. If the eye should become red, sore or aching at anytime
- the implanted lens may occasionally move from its original position causing distorted vision. If this happens, further surgery may be needed to reposition the displaced lens
- the retina may become separate from the inner wall of the eye. This is referred to as a retinal detachment and may require surgery. If you notice sudden shadows in your field of vision, floaters or flashing lights
- an accumulation of fluid in the retina can occur, causing blurring of the central vision. This usually resolves itself using drops
- thickening of the membrane behind the new lens can occur in the months following surgery. This is referred to as capsular opacity, although the vision becomes blurred it can be treated with a laser.
Do you use a laser to treat my cataract?
Cataracts are treated using a high frequency ultrasound machine. This is the most modern and effective way to treat cataracts. Although lasers are used in many aspects of eye surgery, they are not used in cataract surgery.
Do you have to take my eye out and place it on my cheek in order to operate on it?