Cataracts: Keep an eye on your  vision

Cataracts: Get regular eye checks eye experts urge


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WORLD VISION: Vision changes can be subtle, so as we head to World Sight Day Aussies are being urged to have regular eye checks and to note any changes.

WORLD VISION: Vision changes can be subtle, so as we head to World Sight Day Aussies are being urged to have regular eye checks and to note any changes.

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Cataract surgery: why 250,000 Aussies have the procedure every year.

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Could your eyesight be better?

Cataracts are the leading cause of vision impairment in Australia, affecting more than 700,000 people.

On World Sight Day on October 11, Aussies are being urged to have regular eye checks and take notice of all changes to their vision.

But according to Dr Alex Ioannidis from Australian ophthalmology provider Vision Eye Institute, the difficulty is that vision changes can be subtle and many people adjust to living with less than optimal vision.

“This is particularly true with cataracts,” he said.

Cataracts are a natural part of ageing, and occur when the eye’s naturally clear lens becomes cloudy.

Vision changes can be subtle and many people adjust to living with less-than-optimal vision...This is particularly true of cataracts. - Dr Alex Ioannidis, Vision Eye Institute

Symptoms may go unnoticed in the early stages. Then, as the cataracts develop, they may cause faded/yellow colours, cloudy and/or blurry vision, poor night vision, increased glare and difficulty distinguishing between similar colours.

This can translate into difficulty driving at night or sometimes not being able to drive at all, reduced participation in outdoor activities because of glare, and having trouble with fine-detail tasks such as sewing, reading or cooking.

“The progressive nature of cataracts means people may make gradual adjustments to live with their deteriorating vision, without realising the growing impact on their quality of life,” Dr Ioannidis said.

Most people with very early cataracts can manage with glasses, magnifying lenses and increased lighting in the home.

ROYAL WATCHER: Queen Elizabeth II had successful eye surgery to treat a cataract in May. Photo: AP

ROYAL WATCHER: Queen Elizabeth II had successful eye surgery to treat a cataract in May. Photo: AP

But over time these ways of managing worsening vision will become ineffective.

Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures in the country, with about 250,000 Australians undergoing this procedure every year.

Surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens.

“Your vision doesn’t need to be significantly impaired before you can have your cataracts removed,” Dr Ioannidis said.

“Due to the reduced surgery time and quicker recovery time, it may be better to have cataracts removed while they are immature.”

Vision Eye Institute is Australia’s largest provider of ophthalmic services. World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment.

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