What Are Cataracts?

"Cataract" is the name used to describe a condition where the lens of the eye becomes opacified, blocking some light from reaching the retina and interfering with vision. Cataracts are multi-faceted. The most common cause is age related, other known causes include: diabetes, trauma, certain medications and rare systemic diseases.

Typically, cataracts occur in adults ("adult onset"), but may occur as a congenital disorder. Fortunately congenital cataracts are rare, but these need to be diagnosed and managed urgently.


  • The lense is removed surgically and replaced with an artificial lens.
  • The lens is removed under local anaesthetic (drops or injection).
  • It is an extremely successful operation.
  • Additional benefits are that nearsightedness and astigmatism can be corrected to a large extent.
  • Cataract operations are the most commonly performed operation in medicine.


Early symptoms of cataracts include blurred or cloudy vision, frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions, night glare and hazy vision. These symptoms can also be caused by various other eye diseases and a careful eye examination will reveal the underlying cause

For an adult, a cataract should be removed only when it interferes with lifestyle and makes it difficult to continue normally enjoyable activities. Generally, there is no such thing as a cataract being "ripe" or "not ripe" for removal. What matters is whether or not the problem interferes with vision.

  • Long-term exposure to ultraviolet light.
  • Exposure to radiation.
  • Normal aging.
  • Advanced age.

Nuclear Cataracts:

These are the most common form of cataract types. Nuclear cataracts affect the centre of the lens; therefore they interfere with the person's ability to see objects in the distance.This type is usually the result of advancing age.

Cortical Cataracts:

Of all types, cortical cataracts are most commonly seen in patients who have diabetes. Cortical cataracts begin at the outer rim of the lens and gradually work towards the central core of the lens. This type resembles spokes of wheel that extend from the outside of the lens to the centre.

Subcapsular Cataracts:

This type progress the most rapidly. These cataracts affect the back of the lens, causing glare and blurriness. This type is usually seen in patients who have used steroids, or who suffer from diabetes.

  • Diabetes
  • Normal aging.
  • Smoking
  • Hypertension, Trama, Use of certain medication.

Before The Procedure:

Your eye will be measured ton determine the proper power of the intra-ocular lens to be placed in your eye. Ask your ophthalmologist if you should continue taking your usual medications before surgery.

The Day Of The Surgery:

You may be asked to skip breakfast depending on the time of surgery. Before surgery you will be given eye drops.The skin around your eye will be cleaned and a local anaesthetic will numb your eye. Sterile coverins will be placed around your head. The actual removal procedure will take approximately 20-30 minutes

After Surgery:

Your doctorwill apply a shield over your eye. Then you will be moved to the recovery area. The nursing team will inform you on the carev of your eye as well as medication.

After Care:

Use the eye drops as prescribed. Be careful not to rub or press on your eye. Avoid strenuous activities until told otherwise. Ask when you may begin driving. Wear your glasses or eye shield as advised.