A cataract is a dense, cloudy area that forms in the lens of the eye. A cataract begins when proteins in the eye form clumps that prevent the lens from sending clear images to the retina. The retina works by converting the light that comes through the lens into signals. It sends signals to the optic nerve, which carries them to the brain.

It develops slowly and eventually interferes with your vision. Cataracts are common in older people usually over 60 years of age.


Common symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Trouble seeing at night
  • Fading of colors
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Halos surrounding lights
  • Double vision in the affected eye
  • Need for frequent changes in prescription glasses


There are several underlying causes of cataracts. These include:

  • Excess of oxidants,
  • smoking
  • ultraviolet radiation
  • the long-term use of steroids and other medications
  • certain diseases, such as diabetes
  • trauma
  • radiation therapy

Risk Factors

Risk factors associated with cataracts include:

  • Older age
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Previous eye injuries
  • A family history of cataracts
  • Too much sun exposure
  • Diabetes
  • Exposure to radiation from x-rays and cancer treatments


To reduce your risk of developing cataracts

  • Protect your eyes from UV rays by wearing sunglasses outside
  • Have regular eye exams
  • Stop smoking
  • Eat fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Keep diabetes and other medical conditions in check


Your doctor will perform a comprehensive eye exam to check for cataracts and to assess your vision. This will include vision testing and tonometry to measure your eye pressure.
Your doctor will also put drops in your eyes to make your pupils dilate. This makes it easier to check the optic nerve and retina behind the eye for damage.
Other tests your doctor might perform include checking your sensitivity to glare and your perception of colors.


Surgery is recommended when cataracts prevent you from going about your daily activities, such as reading or driving. It’s also performed when cataracts interfere with the treatment of other eye problems.
One surgical method, known as phacoemulsification, involves the use of ultrasound waves to break the cataract and remove the pieces
Small incision cataract Extracapsular surgery involves removing the cloudy part of the lens through an incision in the corneoscleral junction. After surgery, an artificial intraocular lens is introduced into the eye.
Surgery to remove a cataract is generally very safe and has a high success rate. Most people can go home the same day as their surgery.