Cataracts

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Dr. S.S. Gill, Consultant Ophthalmologist

Ipoh Echo’s eye health series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr. S.S. Gill talking to us about Cataracts.

Cataracts may cause a variety of symptoms. Blurry vision at any distance is the most common symptom of cataracts. Your vision may look foggy, filmy, or cloudy. Over time, as the lenses become more opaque or mature, less light reaches the retina. People with cataracts may have an especially hard time seeing at night making it difficult when driving. The lights from oncoming cars may scatter and cause glare.

A common complaint among housewives is that colours seem washed-out and dull. One patient who recently had her cataracts removed, actually asked her brother whether he had repainted his car white because she thought that his car colour was brown in the past! A maturing cataract makes it difficult to especially distinguish blue colours.

“Second-Sight of Aging”

There is a phenomenon called “second sight of aging” in which paradoxically a person’s reading vision suddenly improves as a result of their increased nearsightedness from swelling of the cataract. You may sometimes hear people actually boasting that they do not need reading glasses anymore to read their daily newspapers. Often this so called improved vision for nearsightedness is usually short-lived. It actually is a symptom of a maturing cataract.

Cataract in one eye

Frequent Change of Spectacles

If you find that you have been needing to change prescription spectacles every few months, this too may be a symptom of cataracts. Essentially, the spectacle powers or contact lens powers will have to be increased in order to get acceptable vision to the patient.

The Unnoticed Blurring Vision

There are some patients who do not notice their blurring vision because the cataract is more mature in only one eye. This is because the other eye compensates for the vision requirement for their daily activity. The blurring vision is only noticed when they check the vision of each eye separately, only to be surprised that vision in one eye (with cataract) is so poor!  Rarely do cataracts cause double vision (also known as diplopia). As the cataract becomes more mature, the double vision may go away.

Cataracts usually progress gradually and are not painful. They only become painful when they are extremely advanced or mature resulting in a condition called glaucoma where the eye pressure increases. Therefore it is important not to wait for the cataract to be too mature before seeking eye treatment. Rapid or painful changes in vision are suspicious of other eye diseases and should be evaluated by an ophthalmologist. Take note of any unusual eye symptoms and get your eyes checked annually if you are above 40 yeas of age.

Dr. Gill will discuss more on cataracts in the next issue. 

For more information, contact Gill Eye Specialist Centre at  05-5455582, email: gilleyecentre@dr.com or visit www.fatimah.com.my.