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Are cataracts serious?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Cataracts are the number one cause of blindness in the world. However, the good news is that surgery is a safe treatment to successfully remove cataracts and restore vision. Many people opt not to have surgery for some time because cataracts are generally not painful and do not drastically impact a person's ability to see. Eventually, cataracts may become so severe that they begin to affect a person's ability to live their normal, day-to-day life. In these cases, surgery is probably a good idea.

Sharine Forbes
Geriatric Medicine

Cataracts are characterized as the clouding of the lens of the eye. This clouding occurs because some of the natural protein found in the eye clumps together and causes a cloud to develop in the lens. Thus, people who develop cataracts describe their vision as being “cloudy” or “foggy” as the cataract prevents the light from passing through the eye and onto the retina at the back of the eye. Therefore, the eye is unable to recognize when it needs to focus on objects both near and far. As an individual ages, this “cloud” becomes larger and impairs vision causing a “blurriness” in vision.  

Cataracts is treatable through surgery. 

Not usually. Cataracts are flecks of "scar-like" tissue that sits in the lens of the eye. The place they like to exist is right in the central part of the visual field. When that occurs, vision is limited and removal of the cataract is necessary to achieve normal vision. This is a pretty simple procedure these days and can be done by most ophthalmologists.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.