Cataracts: animation 

This animation explains in detail what cataracts are and how they affect the eye. It also describes what happens during a cataract surgery, a procedure to remove the cataract.

Risks of cataract surgery

Transcript of Cataracts: animation

Cataracts affect the lens of the human eye.

The lens of the eye is a clear, transparent disc

that sits in its own capsule behind your pupil.

It focuses light that passes through to the back of your eye, the retina,

helping you to see clear, sharp images.

Sometimes, as you get older,

cloudy patches begin to form in the lens.

These are known as cataracts.

Over time these patches usually become bigger and more can develop.

As less light passes through the lens, your vision may become blurry or cloudy.

The cloudier the lens becomes, the more your sight is affected.

Cataracts are most common in people over 65,

but can also be caused by injury or radiotherapy treatment.

Smoking, diabetes, excessive ultraviolet light and steroid drug use

are also risk factors for cataracts.

Untreated cataracts may eventually lead to blindness.

If your cataract is interfering with your daily activities,

your doctor may suggest you have surgery.

Cataract surgery is simple and takes less than 45 minutes

and is usually a form of keyhole surgery known as phacoemulsification.

Your surgeon will give you a local anaesthetic,

either as drops or by injection.

They will then make a tiny cut to the front of the eye

and use ultrasound waves to break up the cataract,

which is then removed through a small tube.

An artificial lens is then placed through the same tiny cut

inside the lens capsule.

If phacoemulsification is not recommended for any reason,

your surgeon will make a slightly larger cut

and remove the central part of the lens intact

before replacing it with an artificial lens.

Most people see an improvement with their sight

almost immediately after surgery,

and complications are rare.

If both eyes are affected with cataracts,

only one eye at a time will be operated on

to allow for recovery time.

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