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Cataracts are when the lens in your eye becomes misty or cloudy, and is a major cause of visual impairment. The most common cause of cataract is aging. Cataract can affect the ability to carry out daily tasks including driving, for which there are legal minimum vision requirements. It can also affect the ability to get around in general and to carry out close-up activities such as reading and crafts.

Congenital cataracts can be present at birth. Cataracts can also result from trauma to the eye.

The main symptoms for adult age-related cataracts are:

  • reduced or blurred vision
  • increasing problems with glare and bright lights
  • increasing difficulty with seeing in low-light conditions
  • colours may look faded
  • double vision in one eye

You should see your optician if you have any of the above symptoms.

Your optician will do a series of tests including a visual impairment test measuring how well you see at various distances.

If your optician or GP thinks you have cataracts, they may refer you to see an eye specialist for more tests or possible treatment or they may advise you about follow up to monitor your cataract.

Local commissioning policies are in place for this condition

Please be aware that there are local commissioning policies in place for this condition. This means that certain treatments may not be available to you on the NHS. This is because these treatments have been assessed by experts as less effective, with more side effects or only work well in certain scenarios. Overall, it is better to use other treatments at least initially.

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Last updated: 1 June 2020