Cataracts are a normal change within the lens structure of the eye – the lens is responsible for helping us focus on near and far away objects, however as we get older it loses its ability to stretch and flex – which is why we require vision correction for small print etc – also the lens loses its clarity which can make everything look duller and also why some patients complain of glare – especially when night driving.
This scheme helps us check how much a cataract is affecting a patient before referring into the hospital. Unfortunately, many patients are referred and when they are assessed they are quite happy and coping well with their current vision.
During this appointment (which is usually in conjunction with an eye test) we fully check the vision to ensure that the solution isn’t just a new spectacle/contact lens prescription. We check the eye pressure, visual fields, all the front of the eye and we also use special drops to dilate the pupils – this is to obtain a clearer view of the retina at the back of the eye to ensure that there is no other eye condition causing the vision to be blurry.
We do have criteria for when cataracts are more likely to be treated, however we do treat each case individually and we refer when it is in the patient’s best interest. For example, if a patient was a carer and needed to drive and was finding that difficult, we would refer and ensure the cataract team knew those specific needs to that individual even if their standard of vision was still good. Equally if a patient had poor vision but was getting along quite well at home and was happy with their level of vision, we would monitor them and refer onwards when they felt ready to be referred.
We treat everyone as an individual and listen to their concerns and their needs and make recommendations once we know what matters most to you.