A cataract is characterized as a clouding or fogging of the eye’s lens. Light passes through the iris into the lens, which then focuses the light. A cataract causes this light to cloud, which can blur or dim vision. Cataracts develop slowly, and will usually cause only minimal symptoms early on.
- Cloudy vision
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Sensitivity to light and glare
- Frequent changes in prescription lenses
- Double vision in one eye
- Change in the perception of color
Cataracts do not cause discomfort, although the vision loss that occurs as a result of the condition can be dangerous. Cataracts are a result of proteins that break down over time. This process may happen as a result of aging.
- Cigarette smoking
- Sunlight exposure without eye protection
- High blood pressure
- Eye injury or other eye conditions
- Radiation treatment on the upper body
- Prolonged steroid usage (common for individuals managing arthritis or lupus)
- Prolonged use of phenothiazine medication (such as Thorazine)
Cataracts are especially common among older individuals. Nearly 50% of people over the age of 80 experience some form of cataracts in one or both of their eyes.
If you are experiencing any form of vision loss, or a persistent change in your vision, talk to your health care provider or eye doctor right away. While there is no definitive method of slowing the progression of cataracts, an ophthalmologist may be able to recommend strategies and treatment options to help your vision and maintain eye health.
Below is a list of common treatment options for cataracts. During your appointment, discuss these with your doctor to determine the right treatment plan for you.