A cataract is a clouding of the eye's normally clear lens. The lens is behind the iris (the colored part of the eye), and helps to focus the image for clear vision. With age, and sometimes as a side effect of some medications, the lens becomes clouded with deposits. This clouding in the lens results in blurred vision.
Cataracts are not:
While cataracts often affect both eyes, sometimes only one eye is affected. It is common for one cataract to be more dense, resulting in poorer vision in one eye compared to the other.
Most often, cataracts occur as a natural consequence of aging. Opacities form to a greater or lesser degree in everyone with age. A family history increases the risk of cataracts.
Cataracts are also caused by:
If you think you have a cataract you may experience one or more of the following common symptoms:
A comprehensive eye examination by an eye care professional (ophthalmologist or optometrist) can detect the presence and extent of a cataract. There can also be other reasons for worsened vision. Optic nerve disease, such as glaucoma, and retinal diseases, such as macular degeneration, can be evaluated during your exam.
At first, it may be possible to simply change your glasses prescription to enjoy some improvement in vision as a cataract worsens. Eventually, a cataract can progress enough that surgery is necessary for better sight. Cataract surgery is done when you can no longer see well to do activities that you need or want to do. When driving or reading becomes difficult, or when recreation activities or employment is impaired due to cataracts, it is reasonable to have surgery. It is not possible to treat cataracts with medication. If you have cataracts in both eyes, our skilled surgeons will remove them one at a time in order to achieve the best possible results. Sometimes, it is necessary to remove a cataract even if it doesn’t seem to cause problems with your vision. This is the case if it prevents a thorough examination of the retina or optic nerve, or treatment of another eye problem, such as age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy.