Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

Clouding over - all about cataracts

February 2012


Clouding over - all about cataractsAs we age, we become more susceptible to all sorts of problems and one common problem among our age group is cataracts.

A cataract is when the lens of your eye becomes cloudy so that your vision becomes blurred. It can be like looking through opaque glass and in bad cases, vision can become severely restricted. You can have a cataract in just one eye or in both eyes.

In the past people used to live with cataracts until they could hardly function properly and certainly couldn’t read. Today cataracts can be treated at a much earlier stage and the operation is usually very successful indeed.

You can’t “catch” cataracts but certain conditions such as diabetes, certain medications and other eye problems can help to bring them on. The first thing you generally notice is your vision becoming a little blurred or misty. Lights such as car headlamps and sunlight may also become more dazzling. Colour can change as well and some colours can fade and lose their vibrancy.

In some cases you won’t suffer from any symptoms and an optometrist will pick up the start of the cataracts before you know anything is wrong.

When cataracts have been diagnosed, the best treatment is to have an operation to remove the cloudy lens of the eye which causes the problem. This is not as scary as it sounds and is usually done under a local anaesthetic when you will remain awake but won’t feel anything.

The operation will be performed by an eye specialist who makes a very small opening in the eye. Through this he will remove your clouded natural lens and replace it with a clear plastic lens - an intraocular lens implant. This is a permanent implant and there is no risk of rejection in the eye.

Sometimes this implanted lens can be adapted to correct previous vision problems. If you naturally suffered from short sight, for instance, sometimes the lens can be adapted to help correct this as well.

After the operation the eye will be carefully protected with a padded eyeshield and most patients can go home the same day. The shield will have to stay on for perhaps a day or so and after the operation it is important to take care of the eye for some time to ensure complete healing and settling of the new lens. For instance, it is best to avoid strenuous exercise, swimming, getting soapy water into your eye or putting on heavy eye make up until your doctor says the eye is fully recovered. You will probably be given eye drops to use for a while after the operation.

After having had the operation, many people notice an instant improvement in their vision but in some cases it can take several months before the eye settles down with its new implanted lens. The operation won’t necessarily stop you from having to wear reading or distance glasses as a new lens doesn’t affect the eye’s ability to change focus, something that so often deteriorates with age. But it is a very successful operation with fewer than two per cent of patients incurring serious complications.


Back to Health Section



    Keep in touch with everything happening in Laterlife Today!

    Subscribe to our free monthly email newsletters for the latest articles, offers and events. You can unsubscribe at any time should you want to.



Bookmark This Share on Facebook Receive more like this

Tell us your hospital experience

Tell us your health experiences

Want to comment on this article or ask other laterlife visitors a question?

Then visit the comment section of the Later Lifestyle Network, click on the 'Discussion Tab' (you can't see this until you are logged in) and create a new topic or add your views to an existing one. 

feeling Good

Feeling Good

The above article is part of the features section of called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

It includes both one off articles and also associated regular columns of a more specialist nature such as Healthwise, Gardener's Diary, our regular IT question and answer section called YoucandoIT and there's also 'It could be you' by Maggi Stamp laterlife's counsellor on human relationships. 

Looking to the future

Looking to the future

Tell us about what you would like to see here on in the future or any changes you would like to see. Just email

Latest articles

To view the latest articles click on laterlife interest index. To search for articles about a certain topic, use the site search feature at the top right of the page.
Back to Laterlife Today

Visit our Pre-retirement Courses section here on laterlife or our dedicated Retirement Courses site


Advertise on