Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s lens that can cause vision loss

You’ll need to have cataract surgery in order to restore your eyesight

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s lens that can cause vision loss

You’ll need to have cataract surgery in order to restore your eyesight

Fix your cataracts and enjoy clear vision

Quickly discover more about cataracts and how we treat it

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. Most cataracts are related to ageing. Cataracts are very common in older people.

A cataract can occur in either or both eyes. However, it cannot spread from one eye to the other.

The difference between clear and cloudy lenses

The lens is a clear part of the eye that helps to focus light, or an image, on the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.

In a normal eye, light passes through the transparent lens to the retina. Once it reaches the retina, light is changed into nerve signals that are sent to the brain.

The lens must be clear for the retina to receive a sharp image. If the lens is cloudy from a cataract, the image you see will be blurred.

What are the symptoms of a cataract?
The most common symptoms of a cataract are:
  • Cloudy or blurry vision.
  • Colours seem faded.
  • Glare. Headlights, lamps, or sunlight may appear too bright. A halo may appear around lights.
  • Poor night vision.
  • Double vision or multiple images in one eye. (This symptom may clear as the cataract gets larger.)
  • Frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses.

These symptoms also can be a sign of other eye problems. If you have any of these symptoms, check with doctors

What causes cataract?
  • A cataract is a progressive clouding of the eye’s natural lens. It interferes with light passing through the eye to the retina.
  • Ageing and other factors cause proteins in the eye’s lens to clump together, forming these cloudy areas.
  • People with advanced cataracts often say they feel as if they’re looking through a waterfall or a piece of wax paper. Activities such as driving at night, reading fine print, sewing and threading a needle and even watching TV become difficult.
  • Common causes and risk factors:
    • Age
    • Eye trauma
    • Heredity
    • Diabetes
    • Certain medications, including long-term use of oral steroids
    • Ultraviolet radiation
    • Smoking
    • Glaucoma
    • Certain metabolic conditions

We can detect a cataract through a comprehensive eye exam that includes:

Visual acuity test

This eye chart test measures how well you see at various distances.

Dilated eye exam

We place drops in your eyes to widen or dilate the pupils. Then, our doctors use a special magnifying lens to examine your retina and optic nerve for signs of damage and other eye problems. After the exam, your close-up vision may remain blurred for several hours.


An instrument measures the pressure inside the eye.

The symptoms of early cataracts may be improved with new glasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses. However, if these measures do not help, surgery is the only effective treatment.

Surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens.

A cataract is one of the safest and most effective types of surgery. In about 90% of cases, people who have cataract surgery have better vision afterwards.

You should pursue cataract surgery when vision loss interferes with your everyday activities, such as driving, reading, or watching TV. Together with our doctors, you can learn about the benefits and risks of surgery and make an informed decision about whether cataract surgery is right for you.

In most cases, delaying cataract surgery will not cause long-term damage to your eye or make the surgery more difficult. Therefore, you do not have to rush into surgery.

Sometimes a cataract should be removed even if it does not cause problems with your vision. For example, if the cataract prevents examination or treatment of another eye problem, such as age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy.

Once we have removed the old cataract lens, our surgeon replaces it with a clear plastic lens called an intraocular lens (IOL). The artificial lens can focus light onto the back of the eye and improve vision.

Intraocular lenses come in three basic forms: monofocal, astigmatic (toric), and multifocal lenses.

  • Monofocal lenses are the most commonly implanted lenses.
    They have the same power in all areas of the lens. In addition, they can have a fixed focus or allow for changes in focus.
  • Astigmatic (toric) IOLs have astigmatism correction in them.
    These are great for patients who suffer with astigmatism.
  • Multifocal lenses are like bifocal eyeglasses.
    Several areas of the lens have different powers, which allow individuals to see clearly at far, intermediate and near distances. However, these multifocal lenses are not suitable for everyone. For some individuals, they may cause more problems with night vision and glare than monofocal IOL lenses.

If you have cataracts in both eyes, each eye will perform the surgery at separate times, usually four weeks apart.

Who is at risk of cataracts?

The risk of cataracts increases as you get older. Other risk factors for cataracts include:

  • Certain diseases (for example, diabetes)
  • Personal behaviour (smoking, alcohol use)
  • The environment (prolonged exposure to ultraviolet sunlight)
How do cataracts affect vision?

The lens consists mostly of water and protein. When the protein clumps up, it clouds the lens and reduces the light that reaches the retina. The clouding may become severe enough to cause blurred vision.

When a cataract is small, the cloudiness affects only a small part of the lens. You may not notice any changes in your vision. Cataracts tend to “grow” slowly, so vision gets worse gradually.

Over time, the cloudy area in the lens may get larger, and the cataract may increase in size. Seeing may become more difficult. Your vision may get duller or blurrier.

When are you most likely to have a cataract?

The term “age-related” is a little misleading. You don’t have to be a senior citizen to get this type of cataract. People can have an age-related cataract in their 40s and 50s. But during middle age, most cataracts are small and do not affect vision. It is after age 60 that most cataracts cause problems with a person’s vision.

Are there different types of cataract?

Although most cataracts are related to ageing, there are other types of cataracts:

Secondary cataract
Cataracts can form after surgery for other eye problems, such as glaucoma.

Cataracts can also develop in people who have other health problems, such as diabetes or those who use steroids.

Traumatic cataract
Cataracts can develop after an eye injury, sometimes years later.

Congenital cataract
Some babies are born with cataracts or develop them in childhood, often in both eyes.

These cataracts may be so small that they do not affect vision. However, if they do, the lenses may need to be removed.

Radiation cataract
Cataracts can develop after exposure to some types of radiation.

Not all cataract surgery is the same

Knowledge is power. If you’re considering cataract surgery, this 5-minute quiz will help you see what you might be missing.

Do cataracts and glasses hold you back?

You have the choice to remove either or both

You’re tired of waiting to get your cataracts removed

If you want to skip the queues and get cataract surgery sooner than waiting times allow, then you will want to consider looking into private cataract surgery.

You’d like to lessen your dependency on glasses and get your cataracts removed

If you wish to take the opportunity of having your vision corrected when you have lifestyle cataract surgery, you should learn more about premium IOLs or toric lenses.

Thousands of happy patients gain freedom from cataracts, glasses and eye conditions

“I found the service I received from Dr. Elalfy very good, having experienced problems with surgery elsewhere, he sorted out those problems and reassured me to go on and complete my treatment. A lovely person with a very high skill set in optical surgery.”

Ms A.A.

“Fantastic impression and support from the first meeting. Excellent bedside manner with detailed explanations. Eye surgery expertly executed with 100% result wished for. Professional from start to finish. Absolutely no hesitation to recommend.”

Mrs L.W.

Thousands of happy patients instantly gain freedom from cataracts, glasses and eye conditions

“I found the service I received from Dr. Elalfy very good, having experienced problems with surgery elsewhere, he sorted out those problems and reassured me to go on and complete my treatment. A lovely person with a very high skill set in optical surgery.”

Ms A.A.

“Mohamed Elalfy achieves all that we want from our medical practitioners; interest in you as a patient, great care in analysing the problem and ensuring that one’s concerns, emotional and practical, are thoroughly considered and explained and a great outcome.”

Mr B.P.

We have replaced the images of real patients who provided these testimonials to protect their privacy.

Academic resources on cataracts

Learn more about cataracts from authoritative sources

This paper provides a comprehensive view of cataracts and how they form with age. Proteins inside your lens clump together turning the lens from clear to cloudy. Click here to read more.

Most cataracts are age-related; it is a cloudy area in the lens of your eye and whilst at first, you may not notice that you have a cataract, over time, they can make your vision blurry, hazy, or less colorful. You may also have trouble reading or doing other everyday activities. Click here to read more.

If you have a cataract, your lens has become cloudy and it’s like looking through a foggy or dusty car windshield. Things look blurry, hazy or less colourful with a cataract. Click here to read more.

Affiliations and memberships

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Beat the lockdown wait lists and move forward with your life

We provide personalised treatment at a time and place that suits you

Mr Mohamed Elalfy

MBBCh, MSc, MD, DRCOphth, FRCS (Ed), FRCS (Glas), FRCOphth, FICO, FEBO
Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

Seeking eye treatment for a worrying eye condition can be stressful. Waitlists everywhere are long due to the lockdowns, and leaving the house to attend appointments can be a real inconvenience.

To make your experience as easy and stress-free as possible, we provide assessments in your local area. We also offer online appointments both before and after your treatment, so you don’t have to travel far to get the personalised support you deserve.

Restore your vision and begin your life-changing journey towards improved eye health

Don’t let cloudy vision get in the way of your life. Instead, take the first step and discover which type of cataract surgery will give you the clear and crisp results you desire with a cataract assessment.