What are Cataracts?

A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens inside the eye, responsible for focusing light and producing clear, sharp images. Cataracts are common, usually develop with age and can occur in one or both eyes. The lens is contained in a sealed capsule. As old cells die, they become trapped in the capsule, and over time accumulate on the lens. The result is clouding of vision.

What are the Symptoms?

Cataracts are not painful, but you may notice these symptoms:

  • Blurry vision
  • Colors are faded
  • Glare when driving or reading
  • More light is needed to read
  • Poor night vision
  • Your prescription for glasses keeps changing
  • Double vision or multiple vision in one eye

When is Surgery Needed?

Since cataracts develops slowly, you may not need surgery right away. Your doctor may ask you to get new eyeglasses. You may need to use more light for detailed tasks like reading. If cataracts are limiting your daily living tasks, surgery may be recommended.

When Should You See Your Eye Doctor?

Regular eye exams help your doctor see if cataracts are affecting your vision. Have exams as often as your doctor suggests. But if your vision suddenly gets worse, see your doctor right away. It could be an eye problem that needs prompt care. During your exams, you can discuss whether surgery is needed for cataracts.

What Causes Cataracts?

  • Aging
  • Diabetes or other eye and systemic diseases
  • Past eye infections, injuries, surgery
  • Some medications, such as steroids
  • Too much ultraviolet (UV) light
  • Cataracts can also be hereditary