Cataract means an opacity of the lens and it is the commonest potentially blinding condition which confronts the eye surgeon. Fortunately the results of surgery are very good, a satisfactory improvement of vision being achieved in about 90% of cases. It is usually possible to forewarn the patient when there is an extra element of doubt about the outcome. To the uninformed patient the word cataract strikes a note of fear and it may be necessary to explain that opacities in the lens are extremely common in elderly people. It is only when the opaque lens fibres reach the stage of significantly interfering with the vision that the name ‘cataract’ is applied. Many patients have a slight degree of cataract which advances so slowly that they die before any visual problems arise. Nobody need now go blind from cataract; however, one still encounters elderly people who, from ignorance or neglect, are left immobilised by this form of blindness, and it is especially important that the general practitioner is able to recognise the condition.
KeywordsDementia Retina Glaucoma Perforation Cataract
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