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Over fifty percent of people over the age of 60 (and quite a few younger than that) develop cataracts. Almost everyone will eventually develop cataracts as they grow older. Cataract formation occurs at different rates in different people, and can affect one, or in most cases, both eyes.


A cataract is a progressive clouding of the eye's natural lens. It interferes with light passing through the eye to the back of the eye, the retina. Aging and other factors cause cells in the eye's lens to clump together, forming these cloudy areas. Early changes may not disturb vision, but over time cataracts typically result in blurred or fuzzy vision and sensitivity to light. People with advanced cataracts often say they feel as if they are looking through a waterfall or a piece of wax paper.

Symptoms of cataracts:
  • Decreasing vision with age
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Seeing halos around bright lights
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Vision that worsens in sunlight
  • Difficulty distinguishing colors
  • Poor depth perception
  • Frequent prescription changes for glasses
  • Difficulty reading
  • Headaches
Normal Vision
Vision distorted by a cataract
Causes of cataracts:
  • Age
  • Eye injury
  • Heredity
  • Diabetes
  • Some medications including long-term use of oral steroids
  • Ultraviolet radiation
  • Smoking
  • Glaucoma/Retinal disorders 
  • Certain metabolic conditions
Diagnosing cataracts:

Your eye doctor can perform a variety of tests to determine how much your vision has been affected by a cataract. But typically, when decreased vision affects your everyday activities or hobbies, a cataract should be treated.

Treating cataracts:

Currently there is no medical treatment to reverse or prevent the development of cataracts. Once they form, the only one way to achieve clear vision again is through cataract surgery. 


Learn more on Frequently Asked Questions.