We take a caring and tailored approach to surgery for eye cataracts. Each patient receives a thorough assessment, a personal surgery plan and a suitable artificial lens replacement. The procedure is performed as day surgery only at Queensland Eye Hospital in Spring Hill, or at North West Private Hospital in Everton Park.

What are cataracts?

Eye cataracts are blurry or cloudy spots in the lens of your eye. Although they may not be noticeable at first, they can lead to vision impairment over time, if not treated. Typically, cataracts that have developed to the point of interfering with vision will require surgery for treatment.
There are five different types of cataracts, including age-related, injury-related, paediatric, radiation-caused and secondary cataracts.
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What causes cataracts?

Often caused by natural changes in our eyes over time, cataracts commonly occur as we age.
By the time we’re about 40 years old, the proteins within the lenses of our eyes begin to break down and build up together, creating an area of cloudiness.
While this occurs as we age, some factors can put us at higher risk of experiencing cataracts. Health conditions such as diabetes, genetic factors such as a family history of cataracts, and lifestyle factors such as smoking, over-consuming alcohol and excessive sun exposure can make us more likely to have cataracts. A history of eye injuries or surgeries, or taking certain medications such as steroids or medications to treat other health conditions may also make an individual more likely to experience cataracts.

How do you know if you have cataracts?

The main symptom of cataracts is seeing a cloudy or blurry spot in your vision. However, you may also notice that you have sensitivity to light, and are seeing double or even that colours seem less bright than usual. It can also be harder to see at night if you have cataracts.

To find out if your symptoms indicate that you have cataracts, you’ll need an eye examination. At Valley Eye Specialists in Brisbane, our specialists have trained in the correct assessment and surgical management of cataracts. If you think you may have a cataract, we recommend getting your eyes checked to act on any symptoms promptly. Please contact our team to book your assessment with one of our ophthalmologists.

Cataracts symptoms

Over time, common symptoms of cataracts include:
Eye cataracts, when mild, may not present with any symptoms. Sometimes, by the time you are experiencing symptoms of cataracts, they have begun to grow and should now be assessed for treatment.

Types of cataracts

While cataracts are most commonly age-related, there are other types of cataracts that can develop. Generally, there are five main types of cataracts.

Cataracts that occur as we age

As the most common type of cataract, age-related cataracts occur over time as part of our natural eye changes. Protein builds up together in the lens of our eyes to create a blurry spot, that needs to be treated before it grows to the point of interfering with our vision.

Cataracts caused by UV-ray exposure, or radiation treatment

Excessive sun exposure, causing excessive exposure to UV (ultraviolet) rays, can also cause cataracts to form. Another form of radiation, such as radiation treatment to treat cancer (typically on the upper body), can also cause cataracts.

Injury-related cataracts

Cataracts can also occur due to eye injuries that cause damage to the lens. Cataracts can form quite soon after injuries or years afterwards.

Secondary cataracts

It is quite common for new tissue to grow behind the artificial intraocular lens after cataract surgery is quite common, which over time can reduce your quality of vision. This is called posterior capsular opacification, but is sometimes known as a secondary cataract. If this does occur, it can be easily treated using laser technology.

Paediatric cataracts

Rarely, cataracts can also occur in children, either at birth or developing shortly afterwards. They can occur due to genetics, issues during pregnancy, illnesses, eye injuries or certain medications. If these cataracts are quite small and do not interfere with vision, they may be monitored over time. However, if the cataracts are causing vision concerns, they will need to be promptly treated to prevent further issues.

An assessment conducted by your eye doctor will help to identify which type of cataract you may have and how this should be taken into consideration when planning your treatment. Each patient at Valley Eye Specialists will have a tailored assessment and surgical plan.

How to prevent cataracts

While cataracts can occur as our eyes naturally change with age, there are some steps we can take to reduce our risk of experiencing cataracts.

UV exposure can also contribute to cataracts, so protecting our eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses and a hat can also help to prevent cataracts. Injury-related cataracts can also occur, so we should always aim to protect our eyes from injury, particularly during contact sports or work-related activities that can put our eyes at risk.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including following a healthy diet, can also help to reduce your overall chances of experiencing cataracts. Managing any health conditions, such as diabetes, will be important to both your eye health and general well-being.

Regular eye examinations can also help to identify any changes in your eyes early, allowing them to be acted upon as soon as possible.

If you have personal risk factors for cataracts, such as a family history of cataracts, you should especially keep the above prevention tips in mind. Those at the age of 70 or above are highly recommended to undergo regular eye examinations to test for cataracts, as they most commonly occur around this age.

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Treatment for cataracts

Cataracts can be treated with eye surgery to remove and replace the affected lens.

At Valley Eye Specialists in Brisbane, one of our experienced ophthalmologists will conduct a thorough assessment to create a tailored surgical plan.

After discussing your personal needs and lifestyle factors, your ophthalmologist will perform a comprehensive ophthalmic examination with imaging and measurements of your eye, to help decide which intraocular artificial lens will best align with your needs.

Using microscopic ultrasound techniques, the clouded lens is carefully removed and replaced with the chosen type of artificial lens. Usually, the

surgery involves a very small wound in the eye and prevents the need for stitches. The surgery is typically performed as a day procedure.

Can cataracts grow back?

After cataract surgery, cataracts will not grow back. This is because your natural lens will be removed. However, other issues can occur that can create blurry or cloudy vision, so you should book an appointment with your eye doctor if you are concerned.

A secondary cataract can occur after cataract surgery, due to the scar tissue in the eye causing blurry or cloudy vision. These secondary cataracts are usually treated with laser.