Why Is My Vision Clouded?
Cloudy vision usually comes on quite slowly, and is quite hard to notice at first as it can be a very gradual change. Suddenly finding that your vision has become misty or cloudy can be quite distressing, and if you find yourself suffering from this symptom then the most likely explanation is that you suffer from cataracts.
What are cataracts?
A vital part of your eyes is called the lens. This is a clear, round structure which serves to focus light from your surroundings onto the back of your eye called the retina. The retina converts this information into a signal your brain can understand as vision. A cataract is essentially a clouding or misting of the lens, and the result of this is blurred or cloudy vision. Other symptoms can include a sensitivity to light and a fading of your colour vision so that the colours of your surroundings appear diminished. Cataracts can appear on either eye or at the same time in both, but having cataracts in one eye does not mean you will develop the condition in the other.
Cataracts are more likely to develop as you grow older, and the condition is more prevalent in people at the age of 60 and above. The importance of regular eye tests is that your optician may be able to catch your cataracts early, saving you the discomfort of cloudy vision and getting you the treatment you need quickly and without hassle. While it is generally a condition of age, some infants may be born with what are called congenital cataracts, the causes of which remain largely unknown. Smoking is thought to contribute to the progression of the disease, and in the case of congenital cataracts, it is thought that a potential cause may be a smoking mother.
How do I treat cataracts?
Unfortunately the only treatment presently available for cataracts is a surgical removal of the faulty lens. You will be assessed both by your optician and a medical doctor who specialises in the eye called an ophthalmologist. After determining the nature and extent of your cataracts, the details of your operation will be discussed amongst your doctor and surgeon, and the procedure described to you. After arranging a date for the treatment, you will often have to come in for a pre-operative check up or assessment of your condition, just to double check the specifics of your condition.
The operation itself is conducted under a local anaesthetic, which is one that leaves you awake for the procedure but with no sensation in the area being operated upon. This can be daunting, so your surgeon will discuss the procedure with you as it goes on to keep you informed and relaxed. In some instances the operation will be conducted under a general anaesthetic which will render you unconscious throughout the procedure, which lasts about 20 minutes on average.
Your lens is replaced with a plastic equivalent which remains permanently in your eye, and because it is plastic there is no risk of rejection as there is in a tissue transplant. After the procedure it may take some time for your eye to heal, but when it does your vision should be much clearer. If you had been using corrective lenses prior to surgery, you may not need to anymore as the plastic lens can be made to correct your vision.
After surgery you will be advised to look after your eye by keeping your blood pressure stable by not lifting heavy weights or over exerting yourself, avoiding getting soap in your eyes or rubbing them, and protecting your eyes in windy conditions to prevent anything from blowing into them.
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