3rd June 2021
3 minute read
Categorised under:
Eye Health

Caring for someone with cataracts

Carers Week runs from 7-13 June 2021 and is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.

You may be a carer for a friend or family member and helping them with lots of different health conditions, one of which could be cataracts. Cataracts are a very common eye condition in older people and most people with them are over the age of 60. They become more common as people age, with 30% of adults aged 65+ having a cataract that is affecting their vision and requires treatment.

How can I tell if someone I care for has a cataract?

The best way to know if someone has a cataract is to have their eyes examined by an optician. Everyone should have their sight tested at least once every two years, or once every year if they are 70 or older.

If someone you care for finds it difficult to leave the house, then you can arrange for an optician to visit your home to perform an eye examination. If the person you care for has other conditions, such as dementia, they may then adapt some of their tests to take account of that.

They may have difficulties with their speech or explaining things. If this happens then there are signs you can look out for that may indicate they have a sight problem. If someone you care for has difficulties with any of the following, then they should be checked out by an optician:

  • Recognising familiar faces
  • Being in bright light, low light or both
  • Reading facial expressions
  • Finding things
  • Reading, or enjoying familiar hobbies
  • Managing in unfamiliar surroundings
  • Locating food on the plate
  • Managing current spectacles (perhaps saying “I need new glasses”)

If their optician detects a cataract, they should be referred for further examinations and possible cataract surgery.

What is a cataract?

If you’ve been told by your optician that the person you care for has cataracts and referred to us for treatment, you may be wondering exactly what a cataract is and why your loved one has got one (or two).

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in your eye. As you age, proteins in your natural lens begin to break down and the lens becomes clouded.

How do I reassure someone about surgery?

Loss of vision can sometimes impact an individual’s quality of life. You don’t have to live with cataracts, as cataract surgery is a quick and straightforward surgical procedure, but understandably for some, going ahead with surgery can be daunting.

The top three reasons many people put off cataract surgery:

  1. Fear of the unknown
  2. There is a misconception that you must wait until the cataract “ripens”
  3. They may believe that a cataract won’t affect their quality of life that much

Click here to read our cataract surgery blog to find lots of reassurance from SpaMedica cataract surgery patients about the surgery and how much it has improved their vision.

Find out more

There’s lots of helpful information out there to help you care for a loved one with cataracts.

Click here to browse, explore and search for information on symptoms, diagnosis, surgery and advice on what to do (and not do) after cataract surgery.

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