BBC doctor warns people not to ignore common condition after 'shock' diagnosis

Dr Helen Wall
-Credit: (Image: BBC)

A BBC doctor has revealed she was left 'shocked' after being diagnosed with a common condition. Dr Helen Wall appeared on BBC Morning Live to share her experience of living with cataracts.

She first noticed it while on holiday about 18 months ago but thought her sunglasses had sunscreen on them. But she soon realised the cloudy appearance was down to cataracts.

The GP is now warning people not to ignore certain symptoms There are also 'clear driving regulations' that people with cataracts must comply with, the doctor warned.

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Dr Wall, who is a resident GP on the show, said: "Cataracts is basically a clouding of the lens in the eye which is a small, transparent disc - or at least it should be transparent. What happens with cataracts is that over time, it can become cloudy or misty.

"When we are young, our lens is like looking through a clear window, but when you start to get cataracts, that can become very misty, more like a bathroom window. It can be quite difficult for people because it can affect things like driving, and doing their normal day to day activities as it progresses, so it is something to be aware of."

Dr Wall added: "I started to feel like things were misting up. When I was on holiday, I was taking my sunglasses off and kept wiping them thinking "things are just not as clear as they should be, there's sunscreen on these".

"Actually it was my vision deteriorating." The GP said her vision can be corrected with contacts or glasses, WalesOnline reports.

She added: "When I got to the optician for my regular review, I was quite shocked to be told that I had early cataracts. I consider myself very young, I was shocked at that, even as a GP because it's not something you think about. You think about it in old people."

The medic said people with cataracts can drive but stressed there are rules to follow. She said: "So people with cataracts can drive.

"But they need to be clear about how severe their cataracts and how much it affects them." Talking about her diagnosis, she said: "I was told that I've got cataracts because I'm very short-sighted and my prescription is minus 11 - which is quite significant."

She added: "I've had poor vision most of my life. I remember being in primary school and struggling to see very clearly and through time it's got worse and worse."

According to the DVLA, you need to report some medical conditions. It said: "You need to tell DVLA about some medical conditions as they can affect your driving".

You can be fined up to £1,000 if you do not tell them the DVLA your medical condition affects your driving. You can check here with this online tool to see if a health condition affects your driving.