A cataract is a cloudy or opaque area in the normally clear lens of the eye. Depending upon its size and location, it can interfere with normal vision. If the lens is clouded by a cataract, light is scattered so the lens can no longer focus it properly, causing vision problems. Most cataracts develop in people over age 55, but they occasionally occur in infants and young children. Usually cataracts develop in both eyes, but one may be worse than the other.
Most cataracts are due to age-related changes in the lens of the eye that cause it to become cloudy or opaque. However, other factors can contribute to cataract development, including diabetes, smoking tobacco, prolonged exposure to sunlight, and alcohol.
Signs and symptoms
Cataracts generally form very slowly. Signs and symptoms of a cataract may include faded colors, blurry vision, halos around light, trouble with bright lights, and trouble seeing at night.
Treatment and prevention
If your doctor diagnoses early cataracts, he/she can discuss ways that can help improve vision and to slow down its progression. In its more advanced stages, your eye doctor can refer you to a local cataract surgeon and work with them to ensure the best outcome of your cataract surgery.
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