What are cataracts?

What are cataracts?

A cataract occurs when the lens of the eye turns cloudy. As a result, the light entering the eye is scattered and causes increasingly blurred vision.

Cataracts overview

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Who is at risk for cataracts?

Nearly everyone will develop cataracts at some point in their lifetime, typically near retirement age.

What causes cataracts?

Cataracts develop as part of the normal aging process. Contributing factors may also include:

  • Other eye diseases
  • Systemic diseases including diabetes
  • Medications
  • Hereditary factors
  • Ultraviolet light

Cataracts symptoms overview

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Cataract Symptoms

Cataracts affect different people in different ways. Some people live their whole lives without any problems from cataracts. The most common vision problems from cataracts are:

  • Clouded or blurry vision
  • Glare or halos around lights
  • Increasing difficulty with night vision and driving
  • Bright light is needed for reading and other activities
  • Fading or yellowing of colors
  • Double vision (even when one eye is closed)
  • Frequent need to change eyeglass or contact lens prescription

Cataract Treatment Options

Glasses do not eliminate cataract symptoms. Cataract surgery with an intraocular lens (IOL) is the only effective treatment.

How does cataract surgery work?

 


Get EyeSmart

Visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s webpage on Cataracts.