Cataract is is the term used to describe opacification of the lens inside the eye. When this occurs, light cannot effectively reach the retina and vision is impaired. In a similar way, if the lens in a camera was scratched or dirty, the light would not effectively reach the camera film and the photos would be of poor quality.
Symptoms of cataract include blurred vision and glare in bright sunlight. If these symptoms become troublesome, then the patient can undergo surgery to have the cataract removed from the eye and replaced with an artificial plastic lens.
Before the operation, measurements are taken from the eye using various devices. The surgery is performed through very small incisions in the front part of the eye and uses ultrasound to fragment the cataract, which can then be removed in pieces through the small incisions. The artificial lens is folded in half and then inserted into the eye where it unfolds to rest in its final position. The majority of cataract operations do not require any stitches and are done under local anaesthetic as a day procedure.
When the eye has recovered from the surgery, distance vision is often good without spectacles (even if spectacles were worn prior to the surgery). New spectacles are usually required to obtain the best possible visual result. There are a number of options regarding the final focussing distance achieved by the eye, after surgery. This should be discussed with your surgeon prior to surgery.
Once cataract surgery has been performed the cataract cannot recur.
Occasionally, the membrane behind the artificial lens can become cloudy and make the vision blurry. This can be removed by a short procedure (capsulotomy) in the outpatient clinic using a laser.