What are the symptoms of a cataract forming?

08 March 2022

Author: Kate Green

Cataract symptoms

What is a cataract?


Cataracts are the world’s leading cause of blindness, with 10 million sight-saving cataract surgeries performed globally each year. In the UK, cataract surgery is actually the most commonly performed surgery, with 330,000 procedures taking place in England and Wales each year. While cataracts are very common, they are also – thankfully – very easily treated. We offer cataract treatment at Ultralase and are here today to break down exactly what a cataract is, what the symptoms are, and how the treatment works.


Simply put, a cataract occurs when the natural lens in your eye becomes cloudy. This happens when proteins in your eye break down, resulting in foggy vision. They typically begin to form in from a person’s 60s onwards and over half of people will experience one by the time they’re in their 80s. Cataracts cannot spread from one eye to the other but they may begin forming simultaneously in both eyes.


What are the main cataract symptoms?


It’s important to attend regular eye tests to ensure that your cataracts are diagnosed so that you can seek treatment once your vision becomes affected. Understanding what the symptoms are is the first step, so if you notice any of the following signs when it comes to your vision and eye health, it could be an indication of cataracts:

  • Cloudy or blurry vision
  • Halos appearing around bright light
  • Occasional double vision
  • Glasses prescription changing
  • Worsening night vision
  • Light sensitivity


Cataracts tend to form slowly over a number of years so it may be that your optician picks them up during a routine eye test, potentially years before you have any symptoms. It is when cataracts begin to affect your vision and have an impact on your day-to-day life that they need to be removed.


What happens in cataract surgery?


Cataract surgery is performed under a local anaesthetic which is administered by numbing eye drops. A small incision, less than 2.8mm, is made in your eye and as it is so small, it does not require stitches, healing quickly and naturally on its own.


The cataract is removed by a process called phacomulsification, which is where it is broken up by ultrasound. It is then liquefied and suctioned out, before the natural lens in your eye is replaced with a clear artificial lens. The process tends to take around 15-20 minutes per eye and you can go home on the same day.


This allows you to recover from the comfort of your own home and visit us in your local Ultralase clinic for a check-up appointment 1-2 days after surgery. We will see you again 7-10 days after surgery, 4-6 weeks later and then, if both you and the optometrist are satisfied with your vision, you will be discharged from our care 3-6 months on from surgery.


What to do if you have a cataract


If you know you have a cataract, having been diagnosed by your optician, you can book in for a consultation at your nearest Ultralase clinic. You can also book your free consultation if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and believe that you may be living with cataracts. At this appointment, we will discuss the procedure in depth with you and give you further information on different types of lenses available, should you wish to upgrade from the standard cataract surgery lens.


We are the UK’s longest-established eye care specialists and have performed over 700,000 treatments since 1991. Our surgeons are NHS consultant level doctors and are all members of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists or Royal College of Surgeons, so you can rest assured that your eyes are in the best hands.


Give us a call on 0800 988 6390 or email enquiries@ultralase.com if you have any questions. We’re more than happy to help!

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