If you have problems seeing because of cloudy or blurred vision that even spectacles cannot correct, you could have cataract. The
General Cataract and Comprehensive Ophthalmology Service at
Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC), a member of the
SingHealth group, shares what are the first symptoms of cataract and if it is preventable. (iStock photo)
First sign of cataract is usually blurred vision
Cataract is a condition in which the clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy, preventing sufficient light rays from entering the eye, thus impairing vision. It is common in the elderly due to ageing.
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In Singapore, over 80 per cent of people aged 60 and above have some form of cataract, according to a study carried out by the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC). Over 10,000 cataract surgeries are performed at SNEC yearly.
Causes of cataract
In addition to age, other risk factors for the development of cataract include:
- Prolonged ultra-violet light exposure,
- Long-term use of medications such as steroids
- Certain illnesses like diabetes
In the young, cataract can be present at birth or develop as a result of injury.
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Symptoms of cataract
Apart from blurred vision, other complaints may include:
- Colours appearing dull
- Poor vision in bright light, glare
- Haloes around lights
- Difficulty reading, watching television or driving at night
An eye doctor will be able to diagnose cataract after a clinical examination.
Can cataract be prevented?
There is no scientifically proven way to prevent cataract. However, you can protect your eyes by:
- Wearing sunglasses regularly in bright sunlight
- Eating a balanced diet
- Treating diseases such as diabetes
- Refraining from smoking
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