Driving at night with cataracts
Have you been told that you have cataracts? Or has your vision been affected by cataracts? Unfortunately they’ll slowly get worse, restricting what you can see and do more and more. Cataracts cause glare from headlights so driving at night can be difficult or dangerous. And as they progress you’ll have difficulty seeing in the day too, even with new glasses. Even when you clean your glasses your vision is still smudgy. The cataracts continue to get worse until you can’t read, see your phone clearly or enjoy other day to day activities. The good news is that they can be quickly and painlessly removed. And sight can be improved so well that some people don't need glasses afterwards.
A cataract develops in your natural lens as you get older. Your lens is like a window which is clear when you're young but becomes cloudy as you age. So it seems like you're looking looking through smudgy glasses.Mark Wevill has been removing cataracts & correcting sight for over 20 years mostly in Birmingham and the West Midlands. After you've had high tech scans of your eyes, he'll listen to your needs and recommend a tailored, personalised vision correction plan for your eyes.
Here are answers to some of the usual questions people have about cataracts.
WHAT IS A CATARACT?
A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens in your eye.
WHAT CAUSES CATARACTS?
The greatest risk factor is age and unfortunately we can't avoid getting older! There are other causes such as smoking, diabetes, exposure to lots of sunlight, genetic reasons and injuries. Cataracts aren't caused by overusing your eyes, and using your eyes when it starts to develop will not make the cataract worse.
WHO GETS CATARACTS?
Anyone can develop a cataract and they even occur in babies and children, but they are most common over the age of 60.
WILL I GET A CATARACT IN MY OTHER EYE?
Cataracts don't spread from one eye to another but often develop in both eyes at about the same time.
ARE ALL CATARACTS THE SAME?
There are different types of cataract. Some develop quicker than others. Cataracts can also develop in different parts of the lens. A cataract in the middle of your lens will be very annoying. A cataract at the edge of the lens won't trouble you much until it grows into the middle.
HOW CAN I TELL IF A CATARACT IS STARTING?
There is no way for you to know a cataract is starting, however one sign may be that you have to change your glasses more frequently and even the new glasses don't give you the clarity of vision you hoped for. You may develop double vision or may struggle to drive at night as there may be too much glare or reflection from car headlights.
CAN I STOP THE CATARACT PROGRESSING?
No, once a cataract starts, eye drops, changing diet, avoiding sunshine, smoking or medication, nor lifestyle changes will stop or slow it down.
WHEN SHOULD I GET TREATMENT?
When the cataract interferes with your activities or normal lifestyle it becomes necessary. Some people choose to have treatment as soon as possible if they want to reduce their dependence on glasses and enjoy the benefits of the treatment for as long as possible.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR CATARACTS?
Cataracts are treated with microsurgery. New technology has made the treatment safe and quick. The procedure is usually painless and takes less than 15 minutes. Eye drops numb your eye and Mark doesn't use needles to inject around your eye. Your own cloudy cataract lens is removed under microscope. A tiny opening is made at the edge of the cornea, which is the clear window at the front of the eye.
IS THE CATARACT REMOVED WITH A LASER?
Cataracts are usually gently dissolved with a high tech ultrasound probe. Femtosecond lasers cataract surgery can be combined with ultrasound, but a laser can't be used alone at present. Mark did laser cataract surgery combined with ultrasound for a few years but they didn't make the surgery safer, easier or better. Scientific studies have confirmed his experience. Expensive technology should only be used if there's a significant benefit to a patient. So Mark has stopped doing laser cataract surgery with ultarasound and only uses ultrasound at present.
DO I HAVE TREATMENT TO BOTH EYES AT THE SAME TIME?
No, it is safer to have the worst eye is operated on first, and the second eye later.
WHAT TYPE OF LENS IS IMPLANTED INTO MY EYE?
The cloudy lens is replaced with a new high tech lens chosen specifically for you. The lens (usually made of acrylic) helps to focus the light rays clearly at the back of the eye. Advances in intraocular lens technology mean that wonderful clarity of vision can be obtained with aspheric, multifocal and toric lenses. Lenses such as the Zeiss AtLisa, AtLara, Lenstec SBL lenses, Finevision, Tecnis Symfony, Alcon Panoptix and other multifocal lenses have enabled thousands of Mark's patients to drive, watch television, work at a computer and read without glasses.
HOW LONG WILL I STAY IN THE HOSPITAL?
You're admitted to hospital, have surgery and are discharged home the same day. You don't stay overnight.
HOW SOON WILL I BE ABLE TO SEE AFTER THE OPERATION?
Your eye will be taped closed with a protective shield covering it immediately afterwards. When you remove the tape your vision is usually a little cloudy, but your eye shouldn't be painful afterwards. Your vision usually improves rapidly and depending on what type of lens you have received, you may be able to read and watch TV within a day or so.
WHAT SHOULD I DO AND NOT DO AFTERWARDS?
You'll have regular checkups of you must use the eyedrops you'll be given as instructed. There are some restrictions on driving, work and physical activities. The details will be explained at your appointments.
CAN THE FOCUS OF MY EYES BE ADJUSTED AFTERWARDS?
Yes, the focus can be adjusted using laser eye surgery. Mark Wevill is one of the most experienced laser eye surgeons in the UK and has done over 20 000 laser eye surgery procedures, so is able to fine tune the result if necessary. Further surgery in your eye isn't necessary, instead a laser is used to gently reshape the surface of your eye (the cornea) to correct focus. Read more about Mark Wevill & laser eye surgery.
HOW SAFE IS CATARACT SURGERY?
All surgery has risks. Modern cataract surgery is very safe especially if you follow the advice we give you, use your drops and come to your check ups as instructed. At your consultation we'll discuss the risks in detail and answer your questions.
HOW GOOD ARE THE RESULTS OF CATARACT SURGERY?
The results are excellent and people's lives are transformed by the surgery. Depending on the health of your eyes and the type of lens used, you will find your vision is clearer, driving is easier, you need glasses less or not at all, and colours are brighter. And if you have glaucoma, the pressure in your eye usually comes down improving the control of your condition. Click here to read what some of Mark's patients have said about their results.