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Cataracts are defined as gradual clouding of the eye’s natural, clear lens. The role of the lens is to focus light onto the retina at the back of the eye. Cataract progression varies from individual to individual. It can be quite slow, progressing over a period of years or very fast affecting the quality of vision in a matter of months. In early stages, it can be minor and even unnoticeable but given time it can reduce vision sharpness. The vision then becomes blurry and hazy. The eye will often be sensitive to sunlight, glare or oncoming headlights at night.

As cataract formation alters the structure of your lens, it also alters your spectacle prescription. Therefore, glasses will only offer a short-term solution.

Surgery is the only permanent solution for visual symptoms caused by cataracts. Advancements in cataract removal and surgical techniques allow restoration of vision with minimum discomfort.

Symptoms of Cataracts

While cataracts are typically associated with aging, they can also occur due to diseases, injury, birth defect or certain medications.

Signs and symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Clouded, blurred or dim vision
  • Glare and starbursts with night driving
  • Seeing “Halos” around lights
  • Eye sensitivity to bright light and glare
  • Dull appearance of colours
  • Double vision in a single eye
  • Frequent changes in corrective lens prescriptions

Types of Cataracts

Nuclear cataract: Most common type of cataract, beginning with a gradual hardening and yellowing of the central zone of the lens, also known as the nucleus. Over time, this hardening and yellowing will expand to the other layers of the lens. It can bring about a temporary improvement in your near vision.

Cortical cataract: occurs around the edges of the lens, resulting in “spoke like” opacities that move to the center of the lens and interfere with light passing through the center of the lens.

Subcapsular cataract: Starts as a small, opaque area that usually forms near the back of the lens, right in the path of light. This reduces your vision in bright light and causes glare or halos around lights at night.

Congenital cataract: Some people are born with cataracts or develop them during childhood. These cataracts may be genetic or associated with intra-uterine infection or trauma.

Cataract Assessment

A cataract assessment at Murdoch Ophthalmology Eye Specialist involves several pain free tests to determine your eye health.

Murdoch Ophthalmology Eye Specialist is fully equipped to offer patients accurate and successful surgery catered to their individual needs.

We provide the latest, most up to date equipment available to measure and scan your eyes in preparation for surgery.

Tests

OCT(Optical Coherent Tomography) – to identify subtle macular changes that may not be apparent when the fundus is examined clinically. Cataracts may not be the sole cause of visual impairment and patients need to have appropriate expectations set before cataract surgery.

iTrace – measures and analyses wavefront aberrometry and the corneal topography can separate the visual function between the cornea and the internal optics. The iTrace automatically measures angle alpha, has measurements to plan the correction of astigmatism and suitability for different intraocular lenses.

Cataract Diagnosis

  • Visual acuity test to assess your vision. Your eyes are tested one at a time while the other eye is covered. This test uses an eye chart to measure how well you can read a series of letters. Your doctor can determine if your vision shows signs of impairment.
  • Slit-lamp examination. A slit lamp allows your doctor to see the structures at the front of your eye under magnification. The microscope is called a slit lamp because it uses an intense line of light, a slit to illuminate your cornea, iris, lens and the space between your iris and cornea.
  • Retinal examination. Drops to dilate your pupils are instil making it easier to examine the back of your eyes (retina).
  • Tonometry to test intraocular pressure (IOP)

Our experienced cataract surgeon, will assess your eyes at this visit and will discuss the need and risks of cataract surgery with you. Finally, following your clinical assessment, you will be offered a choice of dates and hospitals as well as a full quote for your pending cataract surgery. You will also be given an appointment to have your eye measurement (A-scan) done for intraocular lens (IOL) selection. Based on these measurements, computer assisted calculations are used to determine how we can correct your vision.