The facts about cataracts

27 November 2019

Our health is the greatest gift that we have. So it’s understandable that so much of our time and energy is utilised preserving or improving it. In the last few decades, gym memberships and healthy eating have become part of everyday life for millions of people in the UK. However, there are still aspects of our health that we overlook – not least our eyesight.

Just think about it. You can probably remember the last time you went to the doctor or dentist. It was probably only a few months ago. But when was the last time you had an eye test? For some people, it has been years or even decades since they went to see an eye care specialist. It may even be as long ago as the free vision tests provided back in school.

So, with our eyesight so often taken for granted, Optegra teamed up with Boots to create an essential guide to eye health. This report looked into the health of the country’s eyesight, as well as offering tips and advice.

One area of eye health which really stood out from the report was cataracts. According to the research, cataracts affect one in three people over the age of 65 in the UK. That’s a huge number of people whose eyesight may be affected by this debilitating condition.

But again, owing to a lack of understanding about eye care, more than 65% of people diagnosed with cataracts had no idea that they had the condition. It is only by going to an eye care specialist that many people find out their eyes are at risk.

To help you understand what you should be aware of, read on to discover the facts about cataracts.

What are cataracts?

Cataracts are caused by the painless clouding of the eye’s natural lens. The condition tends to be more common in people over the age of 65, and usually develops in both eyes at around the same time, although this is not always the case. Contrary to what some people believe, cataracts do not spread from one eye to the other.

As the condition progresses over time, eyesight gets progressively worse. The symptoms of cataracts include cloudy or blurred vision, which some people describe as feeling like looking through frosted glass. Other common symptoms include:

  • Frequent changes in your prescription for glasses or contact lenses
  • Colours appearing faded
  • Difficulty seeing clearly at night
  • Problems with glare from bright lights
  • Double vision

The symptoms of cataracts can be very frustrating, but there is a simple procedure which can correct your vision, so there is no need to simply put up with it.

How to treat cataracts

At Optegra’s eye hospitals and clinics around the country, we offer treatments to remove cataracts and restore your vision. Our experienced ophthalmic surgeons provide tailored treatments to suit every patient’s needs. That’s just one of the reasons why we’re considered one of the most trusted eye care specialists in the UK by our patients.

Cataracts can only be treated by undergoing surgery, and here at Optegra we offer two different treatment options – standard cataract surgery and refractive cataract surgery.

Both procedures involve removing the eye’s natural lens and replacing it with a synthetic intraocular lens (IOL). What makes refractive cataract surgery different is that the IOL used will be an innovative multi-focal lens, specially selected to correct any other problems you have with your vision, including short sightedness and long sightedness. With this treatment, you could experience better vision than before you received your cataracts diagnosis.

Cataract surgery

Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed elective surgical procedure in the world, with millions of people having their lenses replaced each year. The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic, and involves the cloudy natural lens being removed and replaced with the synthetic lens.

The treatment takes around 20 minutes per eye, and you’ll be given anaesthetic eye drops to ensure the surgery is pain-free, although you may experience some slight discomfort after surgery as your eyes heal. With more than 330,000 cataract operations carried out every year in the UK alone, this is a very common procedure and one you really don’t have to be concerned about.

At Optegra, our treatments are tailored to your individual needs and you’ll be seen by the same surgeon all the way through the process. We offer fixed prices for cataract surgery, so you’ll know exactly what to expect. There are also finance options available to help you spread the payments over up to four years.

Proactive eye care

With two thirds of people surprised to hear they have cataracts, it’s clear that more needs to be done to shift the nation’s habits from reactive to proactive eye care.

Waiting until there is an issue with your eyes could be dangerous move, especially when many eye conditions can easily be diagnosed and treated by our specialists. If you’ve got questions about cataracts, our experts are here to help.


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