Cataract is probably the most widely known eye condition and the most feared. To many people it is an inevitable consequence of getting old and is caused by a skin growing across the front of the eye. Neither of these beliefs are true. A cataract is an opacity forming in the lens inside the eye and while it is most commonly seen in elderly patients it is not inevitable and can be caused by a number of other factors such as injury and secondary to certain systemic drugs such as steroids.
Cataracts develop at different rates in different people but advances in surgical technique mean that in most cases it is possible to remove the cataract successfully. The use of implants mean that the thick "bulls eye" glasses are a thing of the past and micro-surgery and local anaesthetics mean that in a lot of cases the operation can be carried out on an out patients basis.
Once a cataract has been removed it cannot grow back. However in some cases the capsule in which the implant is placed can become thickened. This can easily be remedied by a short bout of laser treatment again as an out patient.
Although the results of the operation are dramatic and quickly observed the eye continues to heal for a number of months after the operation and the consultant may recommend waiting a few weeks before having your glasses updated and it may be necessary to change the prescription again a few months later.