What is a Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. Most cataracts are related to aging, but can also be caused by trauma, medication or drug use, or an inherited or acquired medical condition. Cataracts are very common in older people. By age 80, nearly all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.
The lens is a clear part of the eye that helps to focus light, or an image, on the retina. The lens must be clear for the retina to receive a sharp image. If the lens is cloudy from a cataract, the image you see will be blurred. When a cataract is small, the cloudiness affects only a small part of the lens. You may not notice any changes in your vision. Cataracts tend to "grow" slowly, so vision gets worse gradually. Over time, the cloudy area in the lens may get larger, and the cataract may increase in size. Seeing may become more difficult. Your vision may get duller or blurrier.The most common symptoms of a cataract?
- Cloudy or blurry vision.
- Colors seem faded.
- Glare. Headlights, lamps, or sunlight may appear too bright. A halo may appear around lights.
- Poor night vision.
- Double vision or multiple images in one eye. (This symptom may clear as the cataract gets larger.)
- Frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Cataract is detected through a comprehensive eye exam that includes a vision check and evaluation of the eye tissue with dilating eye drops. Additional tests may be needed to determine the severity of a cataract.How is a cataract treated?
The symptoms of early cataract may be improved with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses. If these measures do not help, surgery is the only effective treatment. Surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. Prior to your surgery, you will need to select the type of lens implant you would like.