Cataract1Your eye has a clear lens through which light passes, allowing you to see. When the lens loses its transparency, the cloudy tissue that develops is known as a cataract. Cataracts affect millions of people each year, including more than half of all Americans over the age of 60. Cloudiness develops as a result of a buildup of protein in the lens. Over the course of time, cataracts cause a progressive, painless loss of vision. Cataracts can occur in either one eye or both eyes.

Causes of Cataracts

No one is exactly sure what causes cataracts. It may be the result of the following:

  • Injury
  • Medication
  • Illness
  • Diabetes
  • Alcohol use
  • Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light
  • Smoking
  • Family history of cataracts
  • Exposure to radiation
  • A result of eye surgery

Symptoms of Cataracts

Patients with cataracts often do not experience any symptoms when the condition first develops. Cataracts will continue to progress with no apparent pain, although patients may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Blurry or hazy vision
  • Double vision
  • Colors that appear to be faded
  • Poor vision in bright light
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Poor night time vision
  • Yellowish tinged vision
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions

Treatment of Cataracts

Early cataracts, which are still fairly new, can sometimes be treated with non-surgical methods such as:


  • New eyeglass prescription
  • Anti-glare sunglasses
  • Magnifying lenses
  • Installing lighting that is brighter

If the cataracts begin to interfere with your ability to read, work or do the things you enjoy, you may want to consider cataract surgery to restore your vision. If cataracts are in both eyes, your surgery will be performed on one eye at a time, usually four to eight weeks apart. Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgical procedure in the United States. Approximately 90 percent of the people who have had cataract surgery have improved vision after the procedure.