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  • Writer's pictureEast Yorkshire Eye Surgery

Cataracts, Catseyes and Night-time Glare

Did you know that the Mr Percy Shaw, the inventor of “Catseyes”, was a fellow Yorkshireman? He patented these reflective road studs to help improve road safety at night, and they have become an invaluable invention that helps drivers to navigate safely along dark roads.

Do you enjoy driving at night? It can be challenging for many drivers, with recognised factors such as poor night vision, rush hour traffic and fatigue all contributing to demanding conditions. According to the National Safety Council ( 50% of road traffic deaths happen at night, so with Autumn upon us and shorter days approaching, it is important to ensure that you are fit to drive safely at night.

Much like Percy Shaw, it is my aim to keep my patients and the general public safe when driving at night. Did you know that noticing glare from oncoming headlights or streetlamps at night can be a sign of developing cataracts?

A cataract is a painless, cloudy area that develops in the normally clear lens of the eye. It is often associated with ageing, and most occur gradually over time, affecting either one or both eyes, often at differing rates of progression. Patients with cataracts often notice blurring of their vision, and if left untreated they may eventually lead to blindness. This is because they block light from entering the eye to reach the retina, where light signals are sent via the optic nerve to the brain which interprets it as an image.

Driving with a cataract can be dangerous. The cloudiness of the lens causes light entering the eye to dissipate all over the retina, thus distorting vision and causing a glare effect, which eventually can become disabling.

Initially, with milder cataracts, some patients may choose to try glasses to improve their vision, but the definitive treatment for cataracts is surgical removal and replacement of the affected lens. This is usually done under local anaesthetic as a day patient, meaning you are awake throughout the procedure and do not usually require an overnight hospital stay. You can read more about this on my previous blog post "Eyes Wide Open".

Cataract surgery is my specialist area of expertise. My patients often have excellent outcomes, and most can get back to driving at night quickly and safely. If you think that you may have cataracts or that cataracts are affecting your vision, please do contact me via my website to make an appointment. I would be only too happy to assess you, discuss the procedure in detail with you and answer any questions that you may have.

Take care and drive safely.

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