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This week’s blog on Cataract has been contributed by Dr. Avinash Gurbaxani, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon in Uveitis and Medical Retinal Diseases and Cataract Surgery.

What is cataract?

Cataract is the clouding of the natural lens of the eye. This is generally a slow process related to age, in which the transparent lens gradually loses its transparency, making the vision cloudy or dull. Other factors such as Diabetes or eye surgery, or medications like corticosteroids, can also cause cataract.

What are the symptoms?

Initially there may be no symptoms but over time the quality of the vision deteriorates. The sharpness of vision may be lost and colours may appear washed out and lack definition. Glare is another symptom that may be experienced.

Does cataract threaten vision?

Having a cataract does not damage your eye and vision loss due to cataract is reversible. Patients with visual symptoms should be examined for cataract by an ophthalmologist.

What is the treatment?

Cataract is treated by surgery. This is one of the most frequently performed operations in the world and also one of the most successful. Modern day cataract surgery is very safe and effective. The cloudy lens is removed and an artificial lens is implanted. It takes 15-20 minutes and is painless, and is most often done under local anesthesia. The surgery is performed on a day patient basis.

Will I need glasses?

The eye is examined and an appropriate lens is implanted. Monofocal lenses usually correct distance vision and you may only need reading glasses. Multifocal lenses correct for distance and near vision and may eliminate the need for glasses. Based on the eye examination, the ophthalmologist can advise on which lens is most suitable for you.

How long does recovery take?

Recovery depends on the overall health of the eye and patients can return to regular activities the very next day. Full vision recovery may take a few days up to a month. There are no major lifestyle restrictions after the operation.