The Standard

Don't let cataracts dim your vision; seek expert advice this Cataract Awareness Month

It's time to book in for that eye test with Cataract Awareness Month shining a light on the common eye health condition. Picture Shutterstock
It's time to book in for that eye test with Cataract Awareness Month shining a light on the common eye health condition. Picture Shutterstock

This is sponsored content for Penry Routson Optometrists.

Did you know cataracts are in the top five common eye health conditions?

Luckily, it's also one of the most treatable with the surgery very common with a high success rate.

This June Penry Routson Optometrists is shining a light on cataracts for Cataract Awareness Month to raise awareness for the condition and encourage Australians to seek help.

One of their optometrists, Merry Chen, has answered common questions about cataracts to help shed some light on the common eye condition.

What is a cataract?

"A cataract is a gradual clouding of the eye's natural lens, which is normally transparent," Merry said.

"This cloudiness reduces the amount of light entering the eye and scatters the light, so that the image formed on the retina is poorly focused.

"This results in blurry or foggy vision, even with glasses. Think of it like looking through a foggy or dirty window, and cataracts progress slowly over time, imagine that window getting more and more foggy."

What causes cataracts?

"The most common type of cataract is age-related," Merry said.

"Most people by the age of 60 have some sign of early cataract, and this progresses very slowly over time.

"Other factors that can contribute to their development include diabetes, smoking, certain mediations and excessive sunlight exposure."

Experienced optometrist, Merry Chen, from Penry Routson Optometrists answers all your Cataract question. Picture supplied
Experienced optometrist, Merry Chen, from Penry Routson Optometrists answers all your Cataract question. Picture supplied

What symptoms will I notice with cataracts?

"You may also experience increased sensitivity to light, and difficulty seeing in dim light," Merry said.

"Other symptoms may include fading of colours, double vision in one eye, or frequent changes in glasses or contact lens prescriptions.

"If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, it's essential to consult your optometrist for an evaluation."

What should I do if I think I have cataracts?

"If you suspect you have cataracts, don't delay seeking help from an eye care professional to discuss your treatment options," Merry said.

"Regular eye exams are crucial for early detection and management, and a better understanding of the current state of your eyes and vision."

So I've been diagnosed with cataracts - what now?

"Unfortunately, like grey hair and wrinkles, age-related cataracts cannot be prevented,"

"The good news is they can be effectively managed. In the early stages, you may not even be aware that you have cataracts until it is mentioned by your optometrist.

"During this time, ensuring your glasses prescription is up-to-date allows you to maximise your vision.

"You may also find good lighting helps especially for reading tasks. Regular check ups to monitor the cataract and vision are important."

Can I get surgery?

"Surgery for cataract becomes necessary when your vision, even with glasses, has worsened to the point that it interferes with your daily activities such as reading or driving, your hobbies are affected, or there is a personal or public safety risk," Merry said.

"This procedure requires referral to an ophthalmologist and involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with a clear artificial lens, known as an intraocular lens (IOL).

"This procedure can restore clear vision and significantly improve your quality of life.

"Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in Australia and worldwide, and is typically safe and effective.

"With modern advancements in technology, cataract surgery has become quicker, safer, and more precise, allowing you to regain clear vision and resume your normal activities with minimal downtime."

Penry Routson Optometrists has a team of experienced and skilled optometrists who specialise in cataracts. Contact the team today for more information or to book an appointment.