What is a cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the clear lens in the eye and is one of the leading causes of vision impairment. While cataracts most commonly occur in those who are older, they can develop in younger people as well. Some people are born with a cataract.

These images give an impression of what someone with cataracts may see compared to someone with normal vision.

Cataract simulation
Normal vision simulation

What are the symptoms?

In its early stages a cataract may not cause vision problems. However some of the common signs associated with advanced cataracts include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Glare sensitivity
  • Distortion or double vision in the affected eye
  • A feeling of looking through a veil or curtain

Who is at risk?

Those most at risk include people who have:

  • A family history of the eye condition
  • Diabetes
  • An injury to the eye
  • Exposed their eyes to sunlight without protection over a long period
  • Smoked for a period of time

Can it be treated?

When symptoms begin to appear, vision may be improved through the use of new glasses, stronger bifocals, magnification, appropriate lighting or other visual aids. In more advanced cases, cataract surgery is very successful in restoring vision.
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