Video: All about cataracts

A cataract is an eye condition in which the clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy. The lens sits right behind the pupil and is vital to having clear vision.

When the lens becomes cloudy, it creates vision problems like haziness, light sensitivity and double vision. It may also cause glare and halos to appear around lights, particularly at night. And colors may look dull or faded. If left untreated, cataracts can lead to blindness.

There are different types of cataracts:

  • Age-related cataracts, which are related to the natural aging process of the eye

  • Congenital cataracts, which are present at birth or develop during childhood

  • Cataracts secondary to a disease, which develop as a result of an underlying condition, like diabetes, and

  • Traumatic cataracts, which can develop after an eye injury 

Age-related cataracts are the most common type. By the age of 80, more than half of Americans either have cataracts or have had them removed with cataract surgery.

Cataracts are caused by the clumping of proteins in the eye’s lens. The lens is made up of water and protein. As you age, the proteins begin to break down and clump together, creating a little cloud in the lens. The more proteins that break down, the bigger the cloudiness gets until it eventually covers the entire lens. 

Some things that may contribute to cataract development include smoking, sun exposure, eye surgery or injury, and certain medications. 

Fortunately, cataracts can be removed with cataract surgery. In cataract surgery, the ophthalmologist removes the old lens and replaces it with a new, clear artificial lens. The artificial lens is customized to fit your eye shape and vision needs. 

Regular eye exams are the best means to diagnose and manage cataract development. An eye doctor can also advise you on the best treatment method for your vision needs. 

To learn more about cataracts and cataract surgery, visit AllAboutVision.com. 

Cataracts. National Eye Institute. August 2022.

Cataracts. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Accessed October 2022.

Cataracts. Cleveland Clinic. April 2020.

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