Cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens. When people look at something, light rays travel into their eyes through the pupil and are focused through the lens onto the retina, a layer of light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye. The lens must be clear in order to focus light properly onto the retina. If the lens has become cloudy, this is called a Cataract.
If one's vision has become blurry, cloudy or dim, or things do not appear as bright or colorful as they used to be, a Cataract may have developed in one or both eyes. Many people say that their vision with Cataracts is similar to the effect of looking through a dirty car windshield.
As a Cataract slowly begins to develop, there may not be any noticeable changes in vision at first. But, as the Cataract progresses, people may begin to find that it interferes with their daily activities. Only through a complete examination can a doctor tell whether Cataracts or another problem is the cause of vision loss. View Video
While Cataracts are one of the most common causes of vision loss, especially as people age, they are treatable with Cataract Surgery. Since most Cataracts are part of the normal aging process, they cannot be reversed. There are no medications or eye drops that will make Cataracts go away—surgery is the only treatment.
A Cataract may not need to be removed right away if the patient's lifestyle isn't significantly affected. In some cases, simply changing an eyeglass prescription may help to improve vision. Contrary to popular belief, a Cataract does not have to be "ripe" to be removed. However, once patients are diagnosed with Cataracts, their eye doctors need to monitor their vision regularly for any changes.
When a Cataract causes bothersome vision problems that interfere with daily activities, the eye doctor may recommend surgery to remove the Cataract. With Cataract Surgery, the eye's cloudy natural lens is removed by an Ophthalmologist and replaced with a clear artificial lens implant (called an Intraocular Lens or IOL).