What are Cataracts?

Cataracts are the clouding of the lens of the eye, which is normally clear. They can cause vision to become blurry and make everyday activities difficult such as reading, driving a vehicle, or even seeing people’s faces clearly.

When a cataract first develops, it may only affect a small area of your eye and you may not experience noticeable symptoms. However, as the cataract grows symptoms may become more apparent, including:

  • Blurred, cloudy, or dim vision.
  • Sensitivity to light.
  • Difficulty seeing at night.
  • Seeing “halos” around lights.
  • Double vision in one eye.
  • Needing brighter light in order to read.

Many cataracts form when an injury, aging, certain eye conditions, or past eye surgery changes the tissues that make up the eye’s lens. The lens will begin to break down, resulting in cloudy or blurry vision. You may have an increased risk of developing cataracts if you have diabetes, smoke, are obese, have high blood pressure, have partaken in prolonged use of corticosteroid medications, and more. Be sure to speak with your eye doctor about any concerns you may have regarding your risk of cataracts.

Cataract Treatment Options

While cataract surgery is a safe and effective treatment option, it may not be the right approach for everyone right away. Most individuals with cataracts will not need surgery until the cataracts begin to greatly inhibit their vision. However, if you begin avoiding everyday activities such as reading or driving, your doctor will likely recommend surgery. 

During surgery, the clouded cataract lens will be removed, and a clear artificial lens will take its place. There are a number of ways to remove a cataract, including using an ultrasound probe to break up the lens for removal, or making an incision in the eye and removing the lens in one piece. Your doctor will choose which option they prefer. Overall, this procedure takes an hour or less to perform.

There are also some steps that you can take to support your overall eye health if you are diagnosed with cataracts, including:

  • Schedule annual eye exams.
  • Make sure that your contact lens or eyeglass prescriptions are up-to-date.
  • Protect your eyes from UV light with sunglasses.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Take the proper steps to care for health problems such as diabetes.


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    - MP

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