Great Yarmouth store director Martin McCormack shares his advice on how to watch out for one the most common eye conditions, cataracts, following Specsavers and the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s (RNIB) recent report showing almost six million people in the UK currently live with sight-threatening conditions, yet 25 per cent of people are not having an eye test every two years.

What are cataracts?
Cataracts affect the lens of the eye. When you become older, sometimes cloudy patches can begin to form in the lens, otherwise known as cataracts. Over time these patches usually increase in size and number. As less light is able to pass through the lens, your vision can become blurry or cloudy. The cloudier the lens becomes, the more your sight is affected and, if untreated, can lead to blindness.

What causes cataracts?

Cataracts are most common in people over 65, but can also be caused by:
•    Injuries
•    Radiotherapy treatment
•    Smoking
•    Diabetes
•    Exposure to ultraviolet light
•    Steroid use

How can I tell if I have cataracts?

The condition tends to develop over several years so can often be unnoticeable for a long time. The condition can develop in both eyes and is identifiable by:
•    Blurred, cloudy or misty vision
•    Difficulty seeing/uncomfortable in dim or extremely bright light
•    Double vision
•    Your glasses may become less effective over time
•    Colours become faded
•    A circle of light around bright lights such as streetlamps or car headlights

How can I prevent/reduce my risk of the condition?

No matter how old you are there are several things you can do to lower your risk of developing cataracts including: 
•    Visiting your local optician regularly 
•    Eat a balanced, healthy diet 
•    Quit smoking 
•    Cut back your alcohol consumption
•    Protect your eyes from the sun 
•    If you suffer from diabetes ensure to maintain a healthy blood sugar 

If you are concerned that you or someone you know is suffering from an eye condition, book a sight test with us here – they generally take 20 minutes and could save your sight. 

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