Learn About Cataract

What is the definition of Cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye.

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What are the alternative names for Cataract?

Lens opacity; Age-related cataract; Vision loss - cataract

What are the causes of Cataract?

The lens of the eye is normally clear. It acts like the lens on a camera, focusing light as it passes to the back of the eye.

Until a person is around age 45, the shape of the lens is able to change. This allows the lens to focus on an object, whether it is close or far away.

As a person ages, proteins in the lens begin to break down. As a result, the lens becomes cloudy. What the eye sees may appear blurry. This condition is known as a cataract.

Factors that may speed cataract formation are:

  • Diabetes
  • Eye inflammation
  • Eye injury
  • Family history of cataracts
  • Long-term use of corticosteroids (taken by mouth) or certain other medicines
  • Radiation exposure
  • Smoking
  • Surgery for another eye problem
  • Too much exposure to ultraviolet light (sunlight)
Cataract - close-up of the eye
What are the symptoms of Cataract?

Cataracts develop slowly and painlessly. Vision in the affected eye slowly gets worse.

  • Mild clouding of the lens often occurs after age 60. But it may not cause any vision problems.
  • By age 75, most people have cataracts that affect their vision.

Problems with seeing may include:

  • Being sensitive to glare
  • Cloudy, fuzzy, foggy, or filmy vision
  • Difficulty seeing at night or in dim light
  • Double vision
  • Loss of color intensity
  • Problems seeing shapes against a background or the difference between shades of colors
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass prescriptions

Cataracts lead to decreased vision, even in daylight. Most people with cataracts have similar changes in both eyes, though one eye may be worse than the other. Often there are only mild vision changes.

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What are the current treatments for Cataract?

For early cataract, the eye doctor (ophthalmologist) may recommend the following:

  • Change in eyeglass prescription
  • Better lighting
  • Magnifying lenses
  • Sunglasses

As vision gets worse, you may need to make changes around the home to avoid falls and injuries.

The only treatment for a cataract is surgery to remove it. If a cataract is not making it hard for you to see, surgery is usually not necessary. Cataracts usually do not harm the eye, so you can have surgery when you and your eye doctor decide it is right for you. Surgery is usually recommended when you can't do normal activities such as driving, reading, or looking at computer or video screens, even with glasses.

Some people may have other eye problems, such as diabetic retinopathy, that can't be treated without first having cataract surgery.

Who are the top Cataract Local Doctors?
Highly rated in

Medical University of South Carolina Health System

Epic Center Primary Care

2060 Sam Rittenberg Blvd 
Charleston, SC 29407

Karolinne Rocha is an Ophthalmologist in Charleston, South Carolina. Dr. Rocha has been practicing medicine for over 20 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Cataract. She is also highly rated in 10 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Cataract, Keratoconus, Presbyopia, and Interstitial Keratitis. She is board certified in Ophthalmology and licensed to treat patients in South Carolina. Dr. Rocha is currently accepting new patients.

Highly rated in

University Of Heidelberg

Heidelberg, BW, DE 

Gerd Auffarth is in Heidelberg, Germany. Auffarth is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Cataract. They are also highly rated in 11 other conditions, according to our data. Their top areas of expertise are Cataract, Astigmatism, Presbyopia, and Aniridia.

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Highly rated in

German Society Of Ophthalmology

Frankfurt, DE 

Thomas Kohnen is in Frankfurt, Germany. Kohnen is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Cataract. He is also highly rated in 18 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Cataract, Presbyopia, Astigmatism, and Nearsightedness.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Cataract?

Vision may not improve to 20/20 after cataract surgery if other eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, are present. The eye doctor can often determine this in advance.

What are the possible complications of Cataract?

Early diagnosis and properly timed treatment are key to preventing permanent vision problems.

Although rare, a cataract that goes on to an advanced stage (called a hypermature cataract) can begin to leak into other parts of the eye. This may cause a painful form of glaucoma and inflammation inside the eye.

When should I contact a medical professional for Cataract?

Call for an appointment with your eye care professional if you have:

  • Decreased night vision
  • Problems with glare
  • Vision loss
How do I prevent Cataract?

The best prevention involves controlling diseases that increase the risk for a cataract. Avoiding exposure to things that promote cataract formation can also help. For example, if you smoke, now is the time to quit. Also, when outdoors, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.

Cataract surgery - series - Normal anatomy
What are the latest Cataract Clinical Trials?
A Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing Intraocular Caliper-assisted Capsulotomy Versus Verion Navigation System-assisted Capsulotomy for Age-related Cataract With Corneal Limbus Opacity
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Guiding the Treatment of Anterior Eye Diseases With Optical Coherence Tomography
What are the Latest Advances for Cataract?
Preliminary efficacy of ab interno canaloplasty combined with micro-incision cataract surgery in primary open angle glaucoma combined with cataract: one-year results.
Angle closure secondary to lens remnants in a patient with presumed aphakia: case report.
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Bleb revision with bleborhexis and clear corneal lamellar patch graft for overhanging cystic bleb.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : August 08, 2019
Published By : Franklin W. Lusby, MD, ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 12/16/2021.

What are the references for this article ?

American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Preferred Practice Patterns, Cataract and Anterior Segment Panel, Hoskins Center for Quality Eye Care. Cataract in the adult eye. Preferred Practice Pattern 2021. www.aaojournal.org/article/S0161-6420(21)00750-8/fulltext. Updated November 11, 2021. Accessed December 16, 2021.

National Eye Institute website. Facts about cataracts. www.nei.nih.gov/health/cataract/cataract_facts. Updated September 2015. Accessed September 4, 2019.

Wevill M. Epidemiology, pathophysiology, causes, morphology, and visual effects of cataract. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 5.3.