Question

Cataracts

What is a cataract?

A Answers (18)

  • AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    Eye Exam: Cataracts
    Cataracts are the Number 1 cause of blindness in the world. Learn more about cataracts in this video of Dr. Oz.


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  • AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    If you boil a pot of pasta by the kitchen window, the window is going to steam up so you can't see out of it. That's essentially what cataracts do: cloud the lens of your eye to cause blurry vision.

    Though cataracts don't really cause a total loss of vision, the clouding can worsen over time to the point of making you legally blind (you're legally blind if you can't read the top letter E on a vision chart from a distance of 20 feet).

    Many things, including UV light, cigarette smoke, and extra glucose in diabetics (all factors that accelerate arterial aging, by the way), can increase the risk of cataracts. In addition to avoiding these risk factors, getting adequate vitamin C may be helpful in protecting against cataracts.

    Cataract surgery can remove the cataract and implant a new lens in the eye.
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  • Cataracts

    A cataract is essentially a cloudy layer that forms on the lens of the eye. Cataracts develop gradually over time, and they ultimately affect a person's ability to see. Eventually, people may need surgery to remove a cataract in order improve their vision.

    Cataracts
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  • Cataracts are cloudy areas in the eye's lens. The lens is the normally transparent structure within the eye that focuses images on the light-sensitive retina. This clouding means your eye can't see those images clearly. If the clouding of the lens continues untreated, it can lead to significant loss of vision and even blindness. Fortunately, the treatment is a very common outpatient surgical procedure.

  • AUCLA Health answered

    Cataracts are a disease in which the eye’s clear lens becomes clouded, requiring surgical removal. Cataracts mainly affect people older than 60.

  • AScripps Health answered

    Cataracts are common after age 60. As eyes age, the lenses become less flexible, thicker and clouded. Symptoms can include blurred or dim vision, sensitivity to glare and seeing halos around lights.

  • AHealthwise answered

    A cataract is a painless, cloudy area in the lens of your eye. A cataract blocks light from reaching the retina (the nerve layer at the back of the eye) and may cause vision problems.

    Cataracts are common in older adults and are linked to aging. Smoking and exposure to too much sunlight are other risk factors. Cataracts can also happen after an eye injury, as a result of eye disease, after you use certain medicines, or as a result of health problems such as diabetes.

    Sometimes children are born with cataracts.

    Surgery is used to remove cataracts that are causing a problem.

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  • ALaura Fine, Ophthalmology, answered
    A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye (focuses light rays to the retina, the innermost layer of the eye, where images are captured and recorded). The term was apparently coined because the resulting whiteness of the lens resembles the churned-up water of a cataract, or large waterfall. It generally takes years for the lens to become foggy, but the opacity can eventually cause a disabling loss of vision, either by distorting light rays or keeping them from reaching the retina at all.

    Most people develop some degree of lens opacity by age 60. Cataracts occur in about half of all people ages 65 to 74 and in about 70% of those older. Despite surgical advances, the lack of access to health care in developing countries makes cataract the leading preventable cause of blindness in the world today.
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  • ARealAge answered

    Just like tree sap you can't get off your car's windshield, a cataract is a milky-colored protein buildup on the lens of the eye. More than half of people will have cataracts by age 80. They can seriously affect vision, but, fortunately, surgery easily removes them in most cases.

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  • A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. Most cataracts are related to aging. Cataracts are very common in older people. The National Eye Institute (NEI) estimates that by age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. Cataracts generally do not cause surface irritation or pain.

    A cataract can occur in one or both eyes. It cannot spread from one eye to the other.

    Clouded vision can make it more difficult to read, drive a car (especially at night), or to see the expression on another's face. Cataracts commonly affect distance vision and cause problems with glare. The lens is the clear part of the eye that helps to focus light, or an image, on the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.

    In a normal eye, light passes through the transparent lens to the retina. Once it reaches the retina, light is changed into nerve signals that are sent to the brain.

    The lens must be clear for the retina to receive a sharp image. If the lens is cloudy from a cataract, the image seen will be blurred.

    Clouding of the lens is a normal part of getting older. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has found that approximately half of Americans older than 65 have some degree of clouding of the lens. After age 75, as many as 70% of Americans have cataracts that are significant enough to impair vision. Cataracts occur equally in men and women.

    Most cataracts develop slowly and do not initially disturb eyesight. Cloudiness occurs over time. As the clouding progresses, the cataract eventually interferes with vision.

    In the early stages, stronger lighting and eyeglasses can help the individual deal with the vision problems. But at some point, if impaired vision jeopardizes normal lifestyle, the individual might need surgery. Fortunately, cataract removal is one of the safest, most effective, and most common surgical procedures.

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    • A cataract is caused by a clouding of the lens inside of the eye, which usually occurs as people age.
    • AMichael T. Murray, Naturopathic Medicine, answered

      Cataracts are white, opaque blemishes on the normally transparent lens of the eye. They occur as a result of free-radical or oxidative damage to the protein structure of the lens, similar to the damage that occurs to the protein of egg whites when eggs are heated. Cataracts are the leading cause of impaired vision and blindness in the U.S.

      Clouding or opacity in the crystalline lens of the eye occurs in a progressive manner, causing a gradual loss of vision.

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    • AEmilia Klapp, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
      Cataracts are cloudy crystals on the lens of the eye. This happens to a lot of people as they age; cataracts also are common in people with diabetes. The cloudy crystals in the eye are caused in part by oxidation and by the formation of advanced glycated end products, also known as AGEs. AGEs are the result of glucose combining with protein. Cataracts are thought to develop from oxidation resulting from the lens’ exposure to the sun. Studies show that people who don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables have a higher risk of developing cataracts. The antioxidants, vitamin C, and folic acid in fruits and vegetables are all preventative measures.
    • AManvi P. Maker, Ophthalmology, answered on behalf of NorthShore University HealthSystem
      Manvi Maker, MD - What are cataracts?

      A cataract is a cloudy structure that forms in the lens of the eye. Watch this video to learn more from Dr. Manvi Maker about cataracts.

    • ADonna Hill Howes, RN, Family Medicine, answered
      Cataract is a condition in which the lens of the eye becomes cloudy. Symptoms include blurred, cloudy, or double vision; sensitivity to light; and difficulty seeing at night. Without treatment, cataracts can cause blindness. There are many different types and causes of cataracts. They may occur in people of all ages, but are most common in the elderly.
    • AJacob Teitelbaum, Integrative Medicine, answered

      The lens of the eye, which is what allows us to focus, is filled with a clear protein containing liquid. If the proteins in the liquid start to denature, they become cloudy. This can cause vision to get blurred.

      Cataracts can be small and present at birth, occur (rarely) after eye injuries, and most often occur as people age, being hastened sometimes by diabetes or high blood pressure. The radiation/ultraviolet light increase seen at high altitudes can also increase risk.

      Cataracts are not dangerous, but can impair vision.

    • A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens, like a window that is fogged with steam. When the lens becomes cloudy, light rays cannot pass through it easily and vision becomes blurred.

      Protecting your eyes from sunlight may slow the progression of cataracts. There are no medications, eyedrops, exercises or eyeglasses that will cause cataracts to disappear once they have formed. Surgery is the only way to remove a cataract.

      Common symptoms of cataract include:

      • A painless blurring of vision;
      • Glare, or light sensitivity;
      • Poor night vision;
      • Double vision in one eye;
      • Needing brighter light to read;
      • Fading or yellowing of colors.

      It is up to you to decide when to have a cataract removed. When you are unable to see well enough to do the things you like or need to do, you should consider cataract surgery.

      In cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed through a small surgical incision. In most cases, the focusing power of the natural lens is restored by replacing it with a permanent intraocular lens (IOL) implant.

      Cataract surgery improves vision in most cases. Cataract surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis so you can go home the same day.

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    • AUnitedHealthcare answered
      A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye. Just like a smudge on the lens of a camera will cause a blurred image, a cataract will result in blurred vision in the eye. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than half of all Americans will develop a cataract by age 80. Cataracts can occur in one or both eyes. They are not contagious nor can they spread from one eye to the other. If the cataract interferes with your activities of daily living, your doctor may then recommend cataract surgery, which involves surgical removal of the cloudy lens. Speak with your medical or vision care provider for details and recommendations on your situation.
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    Is it possible to develop cataracts in both eyes?