What Are Cataracts?
Inside our eyes, we have a natural lens. The lens bends (refracts) light rays that come into the eye to help us see. The lens should be clear, like the top lens in the illustration.
Vision Problems with Cataracts
If you have a cataract, your lens has become cloudy, like the bottom lens in the illustration. It is like looking through a foggy or dusty car windshield. Things look blurry, hazy or less colorful with a cataract.
The top lens is a clear, natural lens. The bottom lens shows clouding by cataract.
Here are some vision changes you may notice if you have a cataract:
If you notice any of these cataract symptoms, notify your ophthalmologist.
Dull or yellow vision
Blurry or dim vision is a symptom of cataracts.
Distortion or ghost images from cataracts.
See a simulation of what vision with cataract looks like.
What Causes Cataracts?
Aging is the most common cause. This is due to normal eye changes that happen starting around age 40. That is when normal proteins in the lens start to break down. This is what causes the lens to get cloudy. People over age 60 usually start to have some clouding of their lenses. However, vision problems may not happen until years later.
Other reasons you may get cataracts include:
Most age-related cataracts develop gradually. Other cataracts can develop more quickly, such as those in younger people or those in people with diabetes. Doctors cannot predict how quickly a person’s cataract will develop.
You may be able to slow down your development of cataracts.
Protecting your eyes from sunlight is the best way to do this. Wear sunglasses that screen out the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light rays. You may also wear regular eyeglasses that have a clear, anti-UV coating. Talk with your eye doctor to learn more.