Cataract is a clouding and discolouration of the lens within the eye. The role of the lens is to focus light as it passes through the eye to a single spot on the retina (the nerve layer at the back of the eye). At birth our lenses are clear and colourless; cataracts develop over many years and are a
normal, age related change. As the cataract progresses the lens becomes increasingly opaque, filtering out light before it can reach the retina; this results in blurring of vision and glare in some patients.
Reduced vision as a result of cataract development can be treated surgically by removing the cataract and replacing it with a lens implant which remains in the eye indefinitely. The lens implant does the work of focussing and indeed it may be possible to reduce dependence on spectacle
lenses in many patients. This procedure is usually performed under local anaesthetic as a day procedure. The operation itself takes on average 15 minutes once the local anaesthetic has been administered.
Further information may be found at www.rcophth.ac.uk/patients/cataract