cataractA cataract is a clouding of the normal crystalline lens located in the eye. Most cataracts are related to aging and are very common in older people. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. A cataract can occur in either or both eyes, but cannot spread from one eye to the other.

The lens is a clear structure located behind the pupil and helps to focus light on the retina. In a normal eye, light passes through the transparent lens to the retina. The image is then changed into electrical nerve signals by the retina and are sent to the brain.  When a cataract is present, the image will come back blurry.

Although most cataracts are age-related, there are other types that can occur.  Traumatic cataracts occur as the result of an eye injury, sometimes years after the injury is sustained.  Diabetes or steroid use can cause Secondary cataracts to form.  Surgery for glaucoma or other eye conditions can also cause secondary cataracts.  Cataracts can also be formed after exposure to radiation, or at birth.

Risk factors include age.  The term “age-related” can be misleading when it comes to cataracts.  Individuals in their 40′s and 50′s are susceptible to having cataracts, as are senior citizens.  Alcohol use or smoking can also increase the risk for developing cataracts, as can diabetes and prolonged exposure to sunlight.

Cataract symptoms may include

  • Cloudy or blurred vision
  • Colors may appear faded
  • Glare.  Light sources such as lamps or sunlight may appear too bright.  You may experience a “halo” effect with some lights.
  • Poor night vision
  • Double vision

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call (877) 677-2020 to schedule a comprehensive eye exam or a low vision evaluation today.