What is a cataract?
Your eye's natural lens functions much like the lens of a camera focusing on both close and distant objects. Over time, the lens becomes less transparent and your vision may start to appear cloudy. This clouding of the lens is called a cataract and is often the result of proteins within the lens degenerating during the natural aging process.
People with advanced cataracts often describe their view as if looking through a piece of wax paper. Light from the sun or a lamp may seem too bright and cause glare, which can make driving at night more difficult. Colors may also not appear as bright as they once were, yet most cataracts develop so slowly that people often don’t realize that their color vision has deteriorated.
What causes cataracts?
- Age (cataracts begin to form as early as age 50 to 60)
- Birth defect
- Cigarette smoking
- Accidents or injuries
- Exposure to ultraviolet light
- Environmental factors, such as disease, toxic chemicals, and certain medications
Are cataracts affecting your vision?
Nearly everyone develops cataracts as they grow older. More than 50% of people over the age of 60—and quite a few who are younger than that—suffer from cataracts. Take the Cataract Quiz to find out if you are a candidate for cataract surgery.