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A cataract is defined as cloudiness or opacity in the normally transparent crystalline lens of the eye that can cause decrease in vision and may lead to eventual blindness. In Singapore, the percentage of elderly patients affected by cataracts is about 78.6%. The number of people affected by cataracts also increases as they get older. It affects 63.6% of people between 60 and 64 years, and 94.6% of people 75 years and older.

The common symptoms of cataracts include blurry vision, glare (lights may appear too bright, or halo may appear around lights), and poor night vision. Usually patients with cataracts do not experience itching, tearing or headaches. As eyeglasses and drugs do not decrease opacity of the lens, the only way to treat cataracts is to surgically remove them. Fortunately, modern cataract surgery is a very effective way in restoring vision in those afflicted with visual impairment due to cataract.

1. Ho T, Law NM, Goh LG, Yoong T. Eye diseases in the elderly in Singapore. Singapore Med J 1997; 38:149-55
2. Au Eong KG, Yap EY, Lee HM, Yong VSH. Questions frequently asked about cataract and its surgery. The Singapore Family Physician 1996; 22:108-12
3. Goh KY. Advances in ophthalmology. Singapore Med J 1999; 40:563-4.

This material does not cover all information and is not intended as a substitute for professional care. Please consult your physician on any matters regarding your health.


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