A cataract is the clouding of the eye's natural lens (also known as the crystalline lens) which lies behind the iris and the pupil. Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 40 and are the leading cause of blindness in the world. Cataracts predominantly occur in the aging population. There are also forms of cataracts that occur that are congenital in nature, occur due to medication side effects, or complications of systemic diseases. 

Signs and symptoms

Cataracts usually progress slowly. Major symptoms of cataracts include experiencing hazy vision, requiring more light to see clearly, increasingly difficulty with glare especially during night driving, and changes in color perception. 


There is a great deal of research that is sometimes in conflict regarding preventing or slowing cataract progression. One large study suggested that higher dietary intakes of vitamin E, lutein, and zeaxanthin significantly decreased cataract development/progression. The most important set that can be taken is to protect against harmful UV radiation by wearing protective sunglasses when outdoors. 


When symptoms begin to appear, the best course of action is to ensure that you are wearing your most current spectacle prescription with anti-reflective coating. Others find increasing lighting for difficult tasks to be helpful. Once the cataract has progressed enough to seriously impair your vision, it is important to consider cataract extraction. 

Cataract surgery has become the best way to improve the quality of your vision. A surgeon removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with a plastic intraocular lens (IOL) that improves your vision at distance. There are more advanced IOLs available that correct astigmatism, near vision, or provide an extended range of focus. 

More information

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The information contained on this page is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice. If you have concerns, please contact us to schedule an appointment.