What is a Cataract?

A cataract is a clouding that develops in the crystalline lens of the eye or in its envelope, varying in degree from slight to complete opacity and obstructing the passage of light. It is the most common cause of blindness in the world and is conventionally treated with surgery. Visual loss occurs because opacification of the lens obstructs light from passing and being focused on to the retina at the back of the eye.

Clouding in the lens of the eye which leads to blurred vision and even blindness. Often patients will have problems appreciating colours and changes in contrast, difficulty with driving, reading and recognizing faces, and problems coping with glare from bright lights.


Cataracts develop for a variety of reasons, including long-term exposure to ultraviolet light, exposure to radiation, secondary effects of diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and advanced age, or trauma (possibly much earlier). A cataract usually develops slowly over years and gradually degrades your ability to drive at night, read small print, and achieve excellent vision with both glasses and contact lenses. Sometimes a cataract develops over several months. Rarely, a cataract appears to develop suddenly; this is usually because a patient covers the good eye and suddenly recognizes he or she has been relying on the opposite eye.


The only proven treatment that is effective and reverses the effect of cataract is surgical removal of the natural lens and implantation of an artificial lens. This procedure is often called ‘phacoemulsification’. There are lens options depending on your end goals of which your LaserVision consultant surgeon can expertly guide you through. The cataract removal procedure is a routine procedure which takes between 5 and 15 minutes to perform.

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