Keep an eye open for cataracts

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

AMata­mata op­tometrist is ad­vo­cat­ing those aged 45 years and over to reg­u­larly visit their lo­cal op­tometrist to re­duce the risk of un­de­tected sight threat­en­ing con­di­tions.

Mata­mata Vi­sioncare op­tometrist Mike Far­rell ad­vises that reg­u­lar eye ex­ams can help de­tect con­di­tions like cataracts, one of the most com­mon causes of vi­sion loss in older peo­ple.

‘‘The most com­mon cause of cataracts is age­ing and they most com­monly af­fect peo­ple over 45,’’ Mr Far­rell said.

‘‘As cataracts gen­er­ally get worse, it is im­por­tant to be aware of the symp­toms, so that the con­di­tion can be treated early.’’

Cataracts oc­cur when the lens in­side the eye be­comes in­creas­ingly opaque, re­sult­ing in ‘‘foggy’’ vi­sion.

Al­though cataracts are caused by the ag­ing process, di­a­betes, steroid use, or ex­po­sure to sun­light can make them worse.

‘‘Some­one with early stages may no­tice a ‘film’ in their ev­ery­day vi­sion. Of­ten things that used to look black and white be­gin to look grey, and colours seem dull. In the early stages, new spec­ta­cles may help but as the cataract gets worse, spec­ta­cles usu­ally do not of­fer any sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment.’’

‘‘The changes can be grad­ual: vi­sion be­comes ‘fog­gier’, less de­tail is seen, read­ing be­comes slower, tele­vi­sion isn’t per­fectly clear and driv­ing be­comes dif­fi­cult when driv­ing in the sun. If you ex­pe­ri­ence any of th­ese symp­toms, you should visit your lo­cal op­tometrist for a check-up.’’

Tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments in re­cent years have re­sulted in im­proved out­comes for those who de­velop cataracts.

The most ef­fec­tive treat­ment for cataracts is surgery.

The pro­ce­dure, which gen­er­ally lasts 30 min­utes, in­volves re­plac­ing the cloudy lens with an ar­ti­fi­cial one.

In most cases the pa­tient is able to re­turn home shortly af­ter the pro­ce­dure.

Photo: SUP­PLIED.

Get checked: Mata­mata Vi­sioncare op­tometrist Mike Far­rell says reg­u­lar eye ex­ams can help de­tect con­di­tions like cataracts which, is one of the most com­mon causes of vi­sion loss in older peo­ple.

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