What are cataracts?

What is a cataract? 

Inside your eye you have a lens. This works like a camera lens, focusing light so you can see. It is clear and colourless when you are young, but as you get older the lens gets cloudier and more yellow. The clouding of your lens is called a cataract. Over time, the cataract causes your vision to become more blurred and you may be more sensitive to light. 

Who develops cataracts? 

Cataracts are a normal part of aging, so everyone will develop cataracts as they get older. But it can also occur at a younger age, due to other conditions. 

When should I have cataract surgery? 

A cataract itself is not harmful to your eye, so it is only worth having surgery if the cataract is affecting your vision. 

What does cataract surgery involve? 

Cataract surgery involves removing your cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. This is done with a “local anaesthetic”, so you are awake but your eye will not feel any pain. You will not be able to see properly during the operation, but you may notice bright lights or colours. You will need to lie still during the operation – if you need to cough or adjust your position, please warn your doctor. The operation usually takes about half an hour. Small cuts are made in the side of the eye, so that the cataract can be removed and replaced with an artificial lens. This is made of plastic and stays in your eye forever. Measurements need to be taken before the operation so that the right lens can be chosen to suit each patient

Why should I have cataract surgery? 

Cataract surgery aims to improve your vision. Once the cataract is removed you should be able to see more clearly. Your colour perception may also improve. 

What are the risks? 

Cataract surgery is usually very successful, with over 95 out of 100 people noticing an improvement in their vision after surgery. It is important to realise that there is always a risk of complications associated with any operation. It is important to very carefully follow instructions given to you by the doctor for eye care after the operation. 

Nubri Language Documentation Project

This clinic is supported by the HKU Knowledge Exchange Fund granted by the Hong Kong University Grants Committee in support of the work of Dr Cathryn Donohue (Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics) on the documentation of Nubri language. 

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