Overview of Cataracts
A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye. Looking through a cloudy lens is like trying to see through a frosty or fogged-up window. Clouded vision can make it more difficult to read, drive a car — especially at night — or see the expression on a friend's face. Cataracts commonly affect distance vision and cause problems with glare. They generally don't cause irritation or pain.
Most cataracts develop slowly and don't disturb your eyesight early on. But as the clouding progresses, the cataract eventually interferes with your vision. Early on, stronger lighting and eyeglasses can help you deal with vision problems. But if impaired vision jeopardizes your normal lifestyle, you might need surgery. Fortunately, cataract removal is generally a safe, effective procedure. Cataract removal requires an outpatient surgical procedure. It is performed in a surgery center or hospital with fine microsurgical instruments under an operating room microscope.
A cataract usually develops slowly and causes no pain. At first, the cloudiness may affect only a small part of the lens (a clear, elliptical structure near the front of each eye) and you may be unaware of any vision loss. Over time, however, as the cataract grows larger, it clouds more of your lens and distorts the light passing through the lens. Eventually, this impairs your vision because of overall blur or image distortion.
Signs and symptoms of cataracts include:
• Clouded, blurred or dim vision
• Increasing difficulty with vision at night
• Sensitivity to light and glare
• Halos around lights
• The need for brighter light for reading and other activities
• Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
• Fading or yellowing of colors
• Double vision in a single eye
If you have a cataract, light from the sun, lamps or oncoming headlights may seem too bright. Glare and halos around lights can make driving uncomfortable and dangerous. You may experience eyestrain or find yourself blinking more often to clear your vision.
For more information on Cataracts visit:
The Mayo Clinic website at www.mayoclinic.com/health/cataracts/
The National Eye Institute website at www.nei.nih.gov/health/cataract/