“My vision is blurry and can’t see bright colours anymore and need more light at night to read”

These signs are usually due to the formation of a cataract.

No, a cataract is not visible on the outer white portion, called the conjunctiva. People usually mistake a cataract with a pterygium (pronunciation without “P”), which is a growth of the conjunctival membrane over the cornea.

1. What is a Cataract?

To see clearly the eye adjust its focus continually to be able to see objects that are at different distances from the eye. This action is performed by the lens of the eye, located just behind the pupil and iris. For good vision the lens must be clear and transparent. When the lens starts to become cloudy and opaque, it is termed a cataract.

2. What are the Signs and Symptoms?

A cataract is often compared to looking through a hazy windshield of a car or through a dirty lens of a camera. At first, it has little effect on your vision and will gradually decrease your clarity in vision. The type of cataract and how soon they occur will give you the symptoms you experience.

Hazy vision with early cataract

Some of the signs and symptoms:

  • vision that is blurry
  • have trouble with glare
  • colour vision that is dulled
  • increased near sightedness (near object clear with blurry distance object)
  • occasionally double vision in one eye

There are 3 types of cataracts:

3. What Causes Cataracts?

Your lens consists of water and protein. Specific proteins within the lens are responsible for maintaining its clarity. Some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens and this is then called a cataract. No one has yet found the reason for these lens changes. A cataract may be caused by many different factors, but the most common cataract occurs with increasing age. Other causes include chronic diseases such as diabetes or injuries as a result of a direct blow to the eye. Cataracts can also be present in newborn infants. This is often a result of the mother having German measles or another infectious disease during the first 3 months of pregnancy. Moreover, some patients have a hereditary tendency to develop cataracts. Unfortunately, no drops or medication can halt this process.

4. Can Cataracts Cause Blindness?

Yes, if untreated it can cause continual loss of vision that can even lead to total blindness. The main treatment of cataracts is eye surgery.

5. Can Cataracts Be Prevented?

We don’t know if avoiding or treating any risk factors will prevent a cataract from forming. Studies suggests that we can only do good by refraining from smoking, moderate use of alcohol and protecting your eyes from sunlight by wearing sunglasses and hats.

6. When is Cataract Surgery Considered?

Mild cataracts often cause little or no vision problems. Your Eye specialist usually monitors your cataract. If there is a significant change in your vision or lifestyle, eye surgery is usually recommended. Some cataracts never reach the stage where they needed to be removed.

7. Is Cataract Surgery Serious?

All surgeries involve some risk. Cataract surgeries carry a very low risk and is one of the most rewarding and more common surgical procedures.

8. Can I get a Cataract Again?

A secondary cataract (also known as a posterior subcapsular cataract, see image below) can usually form in a small percentage of people over a certain time period after surgery. This is where the posterior portion of the lens capsule that is still inside the eye (due to safety reasons) becomes hazy. It can easily be treated with a less invasive procedure which restores clear vision again.

9. Are Both Eyes Operated at the Same Time?

No, only one eye is operated at a time, due to the potential risk of infection. Typically, there is a 2 week period between the 2 procedures.

10. How Will You Know Which Lens Implant is the Right One For You?

This is a personal choice as it is dependent on your lifestyle and your daily visual requirements. The eye specialist will discuss the various options available to you on the day of your pre-operative cataract assessment.

11. What are the Possible Side Effects of Cataract Surgery?

Very few people experience serious complications. Following the procedure, it is normal for the eye to feel scratchy and irritated for the first few days. If severe pain and nausea is experienced, you will need to contact your eye specialist immediately.

12. What is the Recovery Period after Cataract Surgery?

A cataract procedure is very fast. Under normal circumstances vision may return within a week to 3 weeks.

13. If Necessary, When can I Update my Glasses?

It is recommended to wait a period of 6 weeks after the surgery.


If you have more question, please do not hesitate to call me.

Love Your Eyes

Elke Smit

Elke is the owner of Eyestyle Optometrist. Her passion is to promote eye health and eye care but she is even more passionate about the people behind the eyes. The most important factor is good eyesight which gives us the ability to see the beauty in all things around us.

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